The Metro Manila Council recommended Wednesday to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to place the National Capital Region under Alert Level 1 beginning March 1.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Officer-in-Charge and General Manager Romando Artes said the MMC, composed of 17 mayors in NCR, approved MMDA Resolution 22-06 and unanimously agreed to lower the restriction status of the capital region from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 by next month.
“The resolution was already sent to the IATF earlier today. The basis of the MMC to ease the restrictions in the region is to open up the economy to ensure job generation,” said Artes at the press briefing at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City.
“The NCR’s positivity rate for COVID-19 is now at 4.64 percent, way below the 5 percent standard of the World Health Organization.”
Citing the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Situationer in the NCR, as of Feb. 21, the region accounts for 32 percent of the confirmed cases nationwide and a Regional Average Positivity Rate of 4.64 percent with only one LGU remaining at moderate risk classification while the rest are already at low risk classification based on the 2-week growth rate and average daily attack rate.
The DOH Health Care Capacity Utilization Status in the NCR also showed that the Health Care Utilization Rate and COVID-19 Bed Utilization Rate in the Region are both on a downward trend and equally stand at 24.8 percent.
Artes assured that the local chief executives of the NCR were ready and fully capable of implementing the IATF-prescribed health and safety protocols under COVID-19 Alert Level 1.
He added that despite the conduct of political activities such as motorcades and caravans, no notable spike of COVID cases were recorded in the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, Artes announced that the agency is studying the possibility of implementing a modified Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program or number coding scheme during rush hour in the morning.
At present, the number coding is implemented on weekdays, 5pm to 8pm, except holidays, and only covers private vehicles.
“We are studying to widen the coverage of our modified number coding scheme from 7am to 9am. I have met with the district heads of our Traffic Discipline Office. Based on their assessment, from 10am-5pm, light traffic situations are observed on major thoroughfares,” Artes said.
He disclosed that the MMDA did not want to impose the number coding for the whole day due to lack of public transportation.
The MMC is the governing board and policy-making body of the MMDA.
In related developments, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Metro Manila was already capable of being under Alert Level 1 by March.
He said the IATF would meet today (Thursday) and deliberate on the proposal to ease restrictions in Metro Manila.
The country on Wednesday logged 1,534 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 3,655,709, the Department of Health reported.
Positivity rate was at 6.1 percent.
The DOH also reported 201 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 55,977.
In other developments, the government is mulling carrying out house-to-house vaccination in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to increase the number of persons protected against the coronavirus, the DOH said.
Aside from the house-to-house vaccination the DOH called “suyod,” other planned activities include the holding of information caravans, dialogues with persons who refuse vaccination, provision of “ayuda” for persons willing to be vaccinated and radio plugging in the region.
The BARMM health authorities assured the Islamic community that COVID-19 vaccines are certified by the Philippine Halal Certification
Board as “halal” or permissible to the Islam faith.