On relaxing age-based restrictions

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) carefully weighed all sides before they had resolved to ease age restrictions in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Filipino children have already stayed in their homes for ten months now, and allowing those to leave their houses, especially on a weekend activity, is good for their physical, social and mental health.

Face-to-face classes and allowing school-aged children to leave their homes differ in their nature, intensity and proximity. For one, physical distancing is difficult to implement in face-to-face classes given the size of classrooms vis-a-vis the number of students that are enrolled. Also, students attending face-to-face classes would have higher exposure to the virus given the intensity of interaction of children in school with their classmates. On the other hand, children who are allowed to go out on a weekend or during their free time (as online classes / modular learning are ongoing) will be with their parents and/or relatives. It is family bonding and interaction is akin to a “family bubble” since it is limited to family members – the same people they are with in their homes – thus it is safer. Also, activities outside their homes, such as dining out or doing the groceries would take fewer hours complemented with the observance of public health standards.

In addition, it has been observed that ten-year-old children have started to develop their cognitive skills of following instructions from adults. They are less frisky compared to younger children.

This IATF decision likewise forms part of the overarching goal of reopening the economy thus promoting recovery. Not easing restrictions may have longer impact on jobs, income, poverty and hunger leading to further economic deterioration as well as health issues. As we said in numerous occasions, the government needs to balance both the re-opening of the economy and controlling the spread of the virus. Rest assured that safeguards and health protocols would be strictly adhered.