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Sorry, NCR Kids, No Photo With Santa At The Mall This Year
PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano
  • After consulting with pediatric experts, all 17 Metro Manila mayors have decided to continue disallowing minors from going out of residences to visit shopping malls in the National Capital Region (NCR).

    That is the final word from heads of local government units (LGUs) in ending the confusion generated by conflicting pronouncements from top officials of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the NCR police force. (Read the story here.) 

    The mayors voted 17-0 through their Viber group, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) general manager Jojo Garcia in an interview with ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo news program Wednesday night, December 2, 2020.

    “Negative, ayaw nila,” Garcia said. “Nang tayo magtanong sa experts — at sila talaga ang nakakaintindi n’yan — hindi talaga puwede, kahit gustuhin man natin. Ang uunahin natin ay health ng mga bata.”

    PH doctors say to no to kids in malls

    The experts he’s referring to are Dr. Joselyn Eusebio, president of the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS), and Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi, president of the Philippine Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP).

    Doctors Eusebio and Bunyi led a virtual media conference earlier that day, just hours before Garcia made public the mayors’ decision. They represented their respective groups in the reading of their joint statement to assert their stand on the matter. It reads in part:

    “Since the possibility of children getting infected from the adults with COVID-19 has been established and some evidence have pointed that children are likewise capable of transmitting SARS-Cov-2 to susceptible individuals regardless of age, it is strongly recommended by pediatricians to remain at home to minimize the risk of getting infected and lower viral transmission.


    “The risk of acquiring COVID-19 both by children and other household members far outweigh the benefits of bringing children to shopping malls to celebrate the holiday season.”

    The experts’ recommendation was duly noted by the mayors, Garcia said. Thus, the rules of General Community Quarantine (GCQ) continue to apply: only those from the ages of 18 to 65 are allowed to go out. But with exceptions concerning essentials, like buying food and medicine and undergoing medical treatment. 

    “Same with the minors,” he added. “Ang importante dito, mga medical checkups sa mga bata. Kahit baby ’yan, pag may checkup ’yan, allowed naman ’yan pumunta sa hospital o clinic.” This includes the ones located inside the malls. 

    Garcia cautioned the adults who might take advantage of the exceptions: “Kung responsable kang magulang, hindi mo ite-take ang risk sa health ng anak mo para lang makapasok sa mall kung hindi essential.”

    And when going out for essentials, the pediatric experts remind everybody to take the safety measures. They particularly recommend the “APAT Dapat” guidelines set by the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19.

    APAT Dapat stands for:

    • Air circulation. Open air is fine, the experts said.
    • Physical distancing
    • Always wear a mask and face shield
    • Timing. If you can limit your encounter outside to about 15 to 30 minutes, they pointed out, that is most ideal. 
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