Local government units (LGUs) would have to enact an ordinance allowing minors to enter malls despite the government’s move allowing them to leave their homes provided they are with their parents or guardians, a ranking police official said on Tuesday.
“Kailangang pagtibayin yan ng isang ordinansa [It should be justified by an ordinance],” Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag said in a radio interview.
This came as the Metro Manila mayors’ recommendation allowing minors to go to malls was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“Aside from malls, they will also be allowed in parks because we should also give the children the chance to go out because this community quarantine has been going on in the past nine months,” Binag said. “But they have to be accompanied by their parents and this should take effect once an ordinance is approved by LGUs specifically here in Metro Manila.”
The IATF earlier allowed 15 to 65 years old to go out as the quarantine rules were eased as part of the preparation for the new normal.
Despite the easing of quarantine restrictions, Binag said they still discourage minors from leaving their homes.
Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. expressed apprehension in allowing children to go to the malls.
“That is still not allowed under GCQ (general community quarantine). (For now), we’ll be having a meeting with mall managers not to allow entry to non-APOR (Authorized Persons Outside Residence) because we expect an influx of people in malls and other places of convergence,” he said in a radio interview.
He said this is to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Danao said he has ordered the increase of police visibility in the streets especially in places of convergence during the holiday season especially in shopping malls to maintain peace and order and the observance of health protocols.
In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte late Monday, Interior Secretary Año said the “gradual expansion’’ of the age groups allowed to go out of their homes and enter malls for the Christmas season would push through subject to guidelines of the ordinances of LGUs in Metro Manila and other areas placed under GCQ.
Aside from Metro Manila, other places under GCQ are Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City and the provinces of Batangas, Lanao del Sur and Davao del Norte, from December 1 to 31.
Department of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez earlier said minors, particularly seven years old below should already be allowed in the malls as part of the government’s effort to revive the economy which was greatly affected by the pandemic.
He said the activities of the minors in the mall should be limited to buying their necessities and eating in the restaurants.
In October, the IATF expanded the age group of those who will be allowed outside residence to 15 to 65 years-old. (PNA)