Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. said people in Metro Manila are now “self-regulating” so there is no need to raise the COVID-19 quarantine level.
“Even if it is not raised, the citizens practice self-discipline, they are already self-regulating,” Abalos said.
“After all of these variants – the UK variant, the Delta variant, the African variant and now Omicron – maybe we have learned to self-regulate. Even if you do not tell them not to go out, on their own, they know not to go out because there is the risk of spreading the virus,” he added.
The MMDA said the volume of traffic has been reduced in the National Capital Region (NCR), especially along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, since the government imposed the Alert Level 3.
MMDA Traffic Engineering Office chief Noemie Recio said based on their latest traffic report, the volume of vehicles along the 23.8-km highway has been reduced by 15 percent to 20 percent.
Recio attributed the decrease to the self regulation and self discipline of Metro Manila residents who decided to just stay at home amid the continuing surge of COVID-19 active cases.
Abalos said he witnessed the decrease on Friday, saying it felt “like Holy Week.”
Earlier, the 17 mayors in Metro Manila agreed to retain the Alert Level 3 in the NCR.
“There is no need for a lockdown or putting Metro Manila under Alert Level 4,” Abalos said.
Major supermarkets and groceries, meanwhile, are also hurting from the declining foot traffic in malls and commercial establishments.
The Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, Inc., (Pagasa) over the weekend, reported the industry was losing 40 to percent sales as the country bears the brunt another shift in quarantine measures due to escalating cases of COVID-19, which is now on its third wave.
“It is difficult to estimate lost sales, but I would say that sales have been down by 40 to 50 percent from pre-pandemic [levels],” said Pagasa president Steve Cua.
The group said there is ample inventory of basic necessities in retail stores while suppliers have been very careful in adjusting prices, in deference to the call of the government to keep prices affordable while the country is still in crisis.
Cua noted that suppliers have been closely coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in terms of price adjustment even if it translates to lower sales for them though prices have slowly been increasing.
He added that the prices of goods, especially agricultural produce, “are more of a function of supply chain conditions.”
He said the group noticed a seeming persisting fatigue from all the fake and confusing news on social media.
At present, foot traffic, even in smaller groceries and convenience stores, has gone back to the days of fewer trips and shoppers.
“Most of the people have learned to rely on virtual shopping platforms, even for their basic necessities,” an owner of a local brand of RTWs said.