Delivery Rider’s Video Goes Viral, All Because of "Non-Essential" Lugaw

Just to be clear: lugaw is essential.

lugaw delivery
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Lugaw Delivery

(SPOT.ph) Enhanced community quarantine is enforced in Metro Manila and nearby provinces from March 29 to April 4. This means earlier curfew, limited travel, and strict rules about going out of the house. Exceptions are in place, of course, especially if it has something to do with essential services like food preparation and delivery. But it seems that some people have opposing views on what is essential. A video has gone viral showing an unidentified barangay personnel in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan stopping a GrabFood driver from bringing a bowl of lugaw from local eatery Lugaw Pilipinas to a customer past midnight on Wednesday, March 31.

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The Facebook Live video by GrabFood rider Marvin Ignacio showed a female personnel barring him from entering Barangay Muzon at 1:30 a.m. supposedly because of enhanced community quarantine guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases. She even cited the rules from a piece of paper, emphasizing curfew hours (6 p.m. to 5 a.m.) and what's essential or not.

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"Para sa private establishments, essential goods and services. Essential po ba si lugaw? Hindi kasi mabubuhay ang tao ng walang lugaw. Ang essential, tubig, gatas, groceries," the barangay personnel said.

The GrabFood rider argued that lugaw is food, and therefore essential; but the personnel was insistent.

"Hindi nga. E di sana lahat ng pagkain bukas. Eto si pulis, palilinawagan kayo ni pulis. Okay? Naiintidihan po? Naiintindihan. Tapos, may nakasulat din tayo dito, sir, na ang pupuwede lang ay provision of foods and essential. Hindi essential si lugaw. Sana bukas si bakery. Naintindihan?"

Based on omnibus guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), "Food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, but limited to take-out and delivery" are allowed to operate at full capacity. "Owners, vendors and other persons involved in the transport and delivery of essential goods" are also exempted from the curfew hours imposed until March 31. Food, like lugaw, is also listed as part of essential goods.

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Following the viral video, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque clarified: "24/7 ang delivery," specifiying food deliveries, in a phone interview with ABS-CBN.

Grab Philippines also issued a statement on March 29 that "[they] will continue to leverage our platform to support the everyday needs of [their] customers while helping [their] driver- and delivery-partners, as well as merchant-partners, safely provide their products and services."

With all this confusion on whether lugaw is essential or not, there was great uproar from the people of the Internet with memes springing up everywhere. "Lugaw" even trended on Twitter on Wednesday evening.

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Lugaw Pilipinas, which has since been closed following the "trauma" of their employees, also joined in on the meme-making:

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Grab Philippines, on the other hand, announced a promo code that customers can use to waive delivery fees. You can type in LUGAWISESSENTIAL.

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Both Grab and Foodpanda are open 24/7.

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