Navotas City will not lift its 24-hour curfew for minors although the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has already allowed persons aged 15-65 to leave their homes.
Mayor Toby Tiangco on Friday stood firm to continue prohibiting minors to go outside or roam around the streets in a bid to let them “stay safe” and encourage them “to attend distance learning classes instead.”
Tiangco even called the decision made by the IATF on Friday to allow individuals aged 15 to 18 to go out as “absurd.”
“Allowing those between 15 to 18 years old to go out is absurd. It defeats the purpose of distance learning and will further distract them from their studies. We cannot afford to be wishy-washy with our rules. Lives are at stake,” he said.
Tiangco also made reference to the city’s ordinance No. 2020-33, which requires residents below 18 years old to stay home all the time while Navotas is under community quarantine or in any form of lockdown required by the national or local government.
“We are still under general community quarantine. As long as a quarantine is in place, we will continue to uphold our 24-hour curfew to keep young Navoteños safe from COVID-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, for senior citizens, Tiangco said they may be allowed to go out provided that they are authorized persons outside of residence or have to buy household essentials.
“Be they 60 or 65, our seniors are already allowed to go out if needed be. But for the sake of their safety and well-being, we highly encourage them to stay home,” he said.
“While it is true that our COVID-19 curve is flattening, cases can skyrocket any time, especially if we loosen up our policies too soon. We should learn from other countries that are now suffering from a resurgence of cases,” Tiangco reasoned out.
The local chief executive has been known for his stance against several times when quarantine guidelines were eased.
Recently, he called the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as “hardheaded” for easing restrictions on business establishments. He said that he would not allow business establishments in his city to operate at 100 percent capacity although the DTI already gave a green light.
In September, he also called out the Department of Transportation for its “reckless decision” to reduce the physical distancing measure in public transportations.
Of the 17 Metro Manila cities, Navotas City is 16th on the ranking based on the attack rate of COVID-19 cases. This means, its daily new cases are not as high as cities on top of the list. According to the University of the Philippines’ OCTA Research Team, the city’s number of new COVID-19 cases is also decreasing.
Tiangco said, government needs to continue its strict enforcement of rules to maximize the gains it has already achieved.
“Our curve is flattening. We want to make sure that this is sustained, that when we loosen up our policies, everyone will remain safe and we will not have to go back to stricter measures. We need to be slow but sure,” he said.