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Christmas parties not allowed in Metro Manila this year

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Oct 20, 2020 4:02 am

Gear up with those holiday vibes with your family (at most), Metro Manila folks! Christmas parties are banned in the region this year to prevent the continuous surge of coronavirus nationwide. 

Department of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced this during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, October 19, 2020.

Año said that all 17 mayors of NCR agreed to adjust the seating capacity of churches to 30 percent, from its previous limit of 10 percent, in time for the Christmas season. Social gatherings, on the other hand, will remain prohibited.

"Iyong pagsisimba, nagkasundo na din sila na payagan ang 30 percent na makapagasimba dahil sa nalalapit na Pasko. Pero bawal po ang Christmas party. Hindi papayagan ang Chrismtas party habang ganito po ang ating sitwasyon," he said

Metro Manila will also ease its curfew hours to 12 to 4 a.m. starting this week. "Nag-adjust na po sila. Dati po ay 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., ngayon na po ay magiging 12 to 4 a.m. na lang," Año explains.

All mayors will implement the shorter curfew starting this week, except for Navotas Mayor Tobias Tiancgo, who wants to keep their curfew hours at 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. "Iyong Navotas ay nag-request na mag-retain muna dahil gusto nilang masigurado muna iyong kanyang COVID cases doon at tuloy-tuloy na lalong gumanda ang sitwasyon doon," Año said.

The Interior Secretary also clarified that Metro Manila will carry out stricter age restrictions while it remains under general community quarantine as compared to areas under modified general community quarantine. He elaborates, "Iyong panawagan natin na puwede nang lumabas ang 15 years old to 65 years old, sa ibang area na low risk ay pinapatupad na po ito. Pero sa Metro Manila, magsisimula muna sila sa 18 years old hanggang 65 years old habang sila ay nasa GCQ," 

Metro Manila has been under GCQ from the second week of August, and will remain under the same less restrictive measure until Oct. 31.

In his press briefing earlier today, October 20, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque raised the NCR mayors' recommendation to place Metro Manila under GCQ until the end of the year.

“That’s the emerging consensus, but I do not want to preempt it because it is a collegial decision,” he clarified.

“But what we are seeing right now is while Metro Manila is under GCQ, we have a wider reopening of industries and that is what we need because it’s part of our message to protect our lives so we can continue with our livelihood,” Roqueadded.