By Fernan Angeles
CITING the local government code, a Palace official said that Metro Manila mayors have the discretion to decide on whether or not to allow minors to go outside their homes.
In a press conference, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the decision of the Metro Manila mayors to disallow minors from leaving their homes was consistent with the local governments’ authority to adjust age restrictions during community quarantine.
Roque was apparently reacting to the Metro Manila Council unanimous decision to only allow residents aged 18 to 65 years old to go outside, as it dumped proposals to allow minors accompanied by their parents or guardians to visit malls this holiday season.
“Iyong naging desisyon ng Metro Manila Council na pagbawalan muna ang 18 and below, iyan naman po ay sang-ayon din doon sa discretion na ibinigay ng IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] sa mga lokal na pamahalaan,” Roque said.
Earlier in the day, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority general manager Jojo Garcia said the mayors arrived at the decision following a discussion with health experts who opposed the easing of age restrictions as children could transmit the virus to older people.
Garcia said it is the responsibility of local government units to ensure that minors are not roaming outside.
Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine.