Metro Manila Curfew, Possible Mall Closures + the Latest on "Community Quarantine"

Metro Manila is on "community quarantine" until April 14.

(SPOT.ph) "Community quarantine," which was clarified by President Rodrigo Duterte as "not a martial law," was declared over Metro Manila in the evening of March 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The term lockdown wasn't also used "kasi takot kayo sabihin 'lockdown,'" according to the president. This runs from March 15, 12 a.m. to April 14, 12 a.m.

In an MMDA press briefing on March 14, San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, read a resolution unanimously passed by the Metro Manila Council that “strongly recommends all local and legislative councils of the National Capital Region to issue ordinances for curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., subject with the necessary guidelines as they deem necessary.”

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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief Jose Arturo Santillan Garcia Jr. clarified that workers and those involved in essential services are exempted from this measure. "Hindi naman po dadamputin ito. Pagsasabihan lang na nandito ang Philippine National Police na umuwi na kayo kung hindi importante ang lakad ninyo," he added.

"We also requested for the malls to be closed. Ang bukas lang ay supermarkets and other essentials like pharmacies and banks," added Garcia during the press briefing. Metro Manila malls, however, have yet to announce their temporary closure.

Some local government units (Muntinlupa, Pasig, Las Piñas, Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Pasay) have posted their advisories on the community quarantine:

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While the initial Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution No. 11, Series of 2020 left most of us confused, specific measures have been put in place—including the latest memorandum from the Office of the President, "Stringent Social Distancing Measures and Further Guidelines for the Management of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation” released on March 14. The memo explains that in “general community quarantine” the "movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points.”

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Here’s a summary of the most important parts of the memorandum:

Suspension of classes

Classes and all school activities in all levels are suspended until April 14. Education-related agencies are tasked to ensure that all schools, universities, and training institutions "provided adequate arrangements to allow the students to continue fulfilling their requirements," according to the memorandum from Malacañang. Local government units are tasked to "ensure that students remain in their homes."

Prohibition on mass gatherings

Planned or spontaneous events such as "movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, community assemblies, and non-essential work-related gatherings" are prohibited. Essential work-related meetings and religious activities can continue as long as they implement strict social distancing.

Alternative working arrangements

The private sector is encouraged to implement flexible work arrangements. The Executive branch of the government will also be implementing options for work-from-home, compressed work week, staggered working hours, and creation of skeletal forces.

Public transportation

Operations of public transport facilities, including the Light Rail Transit, Metro Rail Transit, and Philippine National Railways continue as usual. But the Deparment of Transportation is directed to ensure social distancing in these facilities.

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Travel

Domestic air and sea travel are suspended to and from the National Capital Region. Land travel is allowed only for workers, whether employed or self-employed; provided they show proof of employment and/or business at checkpoints.

UPDATED (March 16, 12 p.m.): This article has been edited to include individual ordinances released by local government units in the National Capital Region.

Photo by Gerald Diño on Unsplash; used for illustrative purposes only.

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