Editorial: Cebu City and Mandaue’s ‘about-turn’

IT LOOKS like the cities of Cebu and Mandaue had a sudden change of heart.

Earlier this month, when the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases announced that it was recommending downgrading the quarantine status of both local government units (LGUs) to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes appealed to the agency to keep the status quo.

They said their cities were not prepared to transition into MECQ.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases had been steadily rising in both cities and they had yet to finish conducting strategic testing, they said.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, May 27.

The IATF issued Resolution 40 placing the whole country under GCQ status from June 1 to June 15, while Cebu City will be placed on MECQ.

Labella once again appealed to the IATF, but this time he has asked it to place Cebu City on GCQ.

He said “it is but a logical step,” citing “the increasing number of recorded laboratory-negative, continuous decline of recorded cases daily and the low mortality rate of Covid-19” in the city.

For Mayor Cortes, he said he was happy that Mandaue City’s ECQ status was not extended.

“We cannot stay in hibernation. Nalipay ‘ta nga mabalanse na nato ang ekonomiya, health and wealth (We’re happy that we can finally find a balance between the economy, health and wealth),” he said.

But then late Thursday night, May 28, President Duterte announced that the cities of Cebu and Mandaue will shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status.

Cortes, who was bent on keeping Mandaue City on ECQ just two weeks ago, has protested. He prefers IATF’s Resolution 40 that placed his city on GCQ.

No squeak, though, from Labella, who said he will abide by whatever the IATF recommends. After all, an MGCQ is better than an MECQ.