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Don't get too excited with GCQ, pandemic still on, Metro Manila folk told

Don't get too excited with GCQ, pandemic still on, Metro Manila folk told

MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia cautioned the public not to be “too excited” as Metro Manila transitions into the less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ) status starting Monday following months of a strict lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“We should remember, we’re still in the GCQ category, meaning may community quarantine pa rin, so we need to talagang be cautious about this at pwede tayong bumalik ng ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). I was telling everyone ‘no, don’t be too excited. Kahit na nag-GCQ tayo, still, nandiyan yung COVID. Existing ‘yan. Baka malimutan natin ‘no,” Garcia said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.

(“We should remember, we’re still in the GCQ category, meaning we are still under a community quarantine, so we really need to be cautious about this because we may transition back to an ECQ.  I was telling everyone, don’t get too excited. Even if we are now under a GCQ, COVID is still there. It’s an existing virus, lest we forget).

“I know everyone is excited about this GCQ but always remember that we are still in the community quarantine, the virus is still there hindi ho nawawala yan. Kailangan lang nating patakbuhin ng konti ang ating ekonomiya to balance economy and health ,” he added.

(I know everyone is excited about this GCQ but always remember that we are still in the community quarantine, the virus is still there, that will not go away easily. We just needed to open up our economy for a bit to balance economy and health).

He advised the public not to travel outside unless it’s for essential purposes.

“If it’s not really necessary, wag na lumabas, Kung lalabas man…umuwi din po tayo kaagad. Wag tayong mawala sa focus, wag tayong manggigil sa public transportation, wag po tayong manggigil kung san tayo pupunta, ang unahin natin yung health and safety,’ he added.

(If it’s not really necessary, do not leave your residence.  If you really have to leave,  go home as soon as possible. Let’s not lose our focus, let’s not be too eager with public transportation, or to where we could go, let’s prioritize health and safety).

With Metro Manila transitioning into a GCQ, the increased volume of vehicles on the road as well as commuters was expected, Garcia noted.

“Yung traffic natin bumalik na (Traffic is back). Actually, we expect that kind of volume,” he said.

“Yung (The)  stranded commuters…actually not along EDSA but some parts like Commonwealth, Quezon Avenue, because there’s no available public transportation right now, lalung-lalo na sa Commonwealth (Especially in Commonwealth),” the MMDA official added, noting that buses offering free rides will be deployed in these areas.

Garcia said the MMDA will be allowing bus augmentation to help train operations for the first two weeks of the GCQ.

“Ang inallow lang natin is yung (We only allowed)  90 bus augmentation for MRT (Metro Rail Transit),” he noted.

Meanwhile, the DOTr earlier said that provincial buses will be allowed to operate by June 22 under GCQ areas.

Inevitable inconvenience

“Unti-unti ang pagdami ng public transportation kaya nga hindi muna sinama ang bus and jeep. Kasi hindi natin pwedeng biglain e. We should remember na existing yung pandemic. So we should always limit the movement of the people. Kasi yung tao ang carrier ‘di ba? So unti-unti yan and of course there will be inconvenience, definitely. Merong magrereklamo, but ito yun e. I think it’s better to think of yung safety,” Garcia said.

(Resumption of public transportation operations will be gradual that’s why we have not yet allowed buses and jeepneys because we can’t rush it. We should remember that the pandemic still exists. We should always limit the movement of people. Because people are the carriers, right? So we will gradually reopen and of course there will be inconvenience, definitely. There will be complaints, but this is it. I think it’s better to think of safety).

“Nakapasok ka nga ng mabilis. Convenient ka. Pagdating naman sa bahay nahawa ka, so kawawa din yung pamilyang uuwian mo,” he added.

(You were able to go to work quickly and conveniently. But when you come home, you’ve may have actually been infected and you will risk the safety the health of your family you’re coming home to).

GSG