Metro Manila eases curfew hours for May

The entire National Capital Region (NCR) will have shortened curfew hours beginning May 1, based on a resolution by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday, April 28.

In the memo signed by MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos and all 17 mayors, curfew will be enforced in the region from 10 pm to 4 am. During the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) period in April, curfew hours were from 8 pm to 5 am.

Citing the gains of Metro Manila in its pandemic fight, the memo said, "[T]he official data of the Department of Health shows that the two week growth rate of reported COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna... has dropped to -5% in the first half of April 2021.”

The Philippines is still grappling with some 71,000 active COVID-19 cases as of April 27, over 29,000 of which are from the NCR.

The issuance of the resolution came as Abalos revealed on Wednesday that the Metro Manila Council opted for a “hybrid MECQ” until mid-May, which meant maintaining the current community quarantine status in the region, but with a caveat that more businesses should be allowed to reopen.

Ang maganda rito (the good thing about this is), you get the best of both worlds. You get the best of MECQ with, of course, additional business activity, pero takot tayo sa infection (but we are afraid of infections). [So] you [also] get the character of MECQ which is border control; interzonal travel is prohibited,” he explained to Rappler.

Interzonal movement is defined by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases as “the movement of people, goods, and services between provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities under different community quarantine classification.”

The IATF is expected to announce its recommended lockdown status to President Rodrigo Duterte for May on Wednesday. –