Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte said that non-essential gatherings like Christmas parties remain prohibited in the city.

She said this to ensure that the decline in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases is sustained.

During her weekly program over the Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR), Duterte said that in their meeting with the COVID-19 Task Force, the prevention and enforcement cluster cited that under Alert Level 2 in the city, parties are not included in the allowed Private Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE).

“Ang sa private establishments, [they are] guided by IATF under Alert Level 2 and sa DTI. But from what I understand, sa prevention and enforcement cluster, dili apil ang parties sa mga allowed nga MICE events dinha sa mga establishments (For the private establishments, they are guided by the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). But from what I understand, as per prevention and enforcement cluster, parties are not allowed in MICE even for private establishments),” Duterte said.

She clarified that these include hiring a venue and holding events in restaurants as they are still deemed “non-essential”.

“We do not know kung mag Alert Level 1, magbag-o siya. But atoa sa Alert Level 2, dili na siya apil sa mga MICE events per the report of the prevention and enforcement group sa COVID-19 (We do not know if there will be changes once we are placed in Alert Level 1. But in our Alert Level 2, parties are not included in MICE events as per the report of the COVID-19 prevention and enforcement group),” the city mayor said.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) Davao shows that as of November 21, the city has only recorded three new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total number of active cases to 302.

With the dramatic drop in the number of COVID-19 cases here, she said that the city is ready if ever the national government will place it under Alert Level 1, which would mean less strict movement restrictions compared to Alert Level 2.

“Kung nasulod ta sa qualification ang atoang numbers diri sa City nasulod sa qualification as Alert level 1, we would gladly accept that napaghatag sa qualification (If we made it in the qualification, we would gladly accept it),” she said.

She stood firm that Executive Order No. 43, which prohibits non-essential events in all barangay, local and national government offices, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) based in this city until December 31, stays as long as there is a pandemic.

Meanwhile, she urged Dabawenyos to avoid social gatherings like parties and going to crowded places like malls as it poses a high risk of contracting the virus.

On the other hand, Davao City COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said that there will be another meeting to be conducted together with the COVID-19 Task Force to clarify if parties would be allowed or not with the new quarantine classification.

“Napag-usapan sa COVID-19 Task Force meeting kung i-allow na ang parties, especially Christmas holiday gatherings. We will have another meeting on that. Kung i-allow siya, we will be making a guideline para i-follow siya kasi even if a-allow nato siya siyempre naa tay tan-awon kung high risk (It was discussed during the COVID-19 Task Force meeting if parties, especially Christmas holiday gatherings, will be allowed. If we allow it, we will be making a guideline for the public to follow. Even if it will be allowed, we have to check the risk is high),” she said.

Schlosser said that the city has an existing guideline that bans non-essential activities like parties. Despite the guidelines set by the national government, she said that the city still has the discretion whether or not to follow the guidelines or modify them.

“With that, medyo dili siya sakto sa Alert Level 2 nga gina follow nato so karon naay separate meeting that will be conducted para ma-harmonized ang guidelines when it comes to gatherings (There are some guidelines that we are not following under Alert Level 2. So, we will conduct a separate meeting to harmonize the guidelines of the city when it comes to gatherings),” Schlosser said.CIO