By now, almost everyone in Metro Manila is looking forward to the eventual lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) next week. But Metro Manila mayors are actually looking to extend the ECQ beyond May 15.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), which is made up of 17 mayors of cities that comprise the National Capital Region (NCR), will discuss on Saturday (May 9) the possibility of extending the ECQ across all cities and municipalities in Metro Manila until June 15, 2020.

According to Edwin Olivarez, Mayor of Paranaque City as well as the incumbent chairman of the MMC, the council is in favor of further lengthening the ECQ as some cities in Metro Manila still have a high number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection. Some of these cities include Manila (795), Quezon City (1,476), Mandaluyong (414), Paranaque (502), and Pasig (309). The MMC will forward its recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

However, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año mentioned yesterday that certain cities in Metro Manila can be downgraded to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) as they plan to impose selective ECQ in several cities in NCR.

“There are areas already in Metro Manila that are actually improving, like San Juan and Valenzuela, but Quezon City is still really what we call a very high-risk area with the 1,000 positive (COVID-19 cases),” said Año.

To date, the Department of Health has reported that the country has 10,343 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of that number, 6,709 cases are located in NCR, with over 5,060 cases still active.

With many already anticipating a more relaxed set of guidelines under GCQ, the planned extension of the ECQ could mean that citizens will have to wait several more weeks before partial operations of public transportation, and for other forms of work and businesses to be allowed to re-open.