Measures continue to roll as community quarantine covers entire Luzon Island

Marje Pelayo   •   March 18, 2020   •   725

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (March 16) announced enhancements on community quarantine which covers the entire Luzon Island.

“It will be an enhanced quarantine, during which the movement of everyone will be significantly limited,” the President said.

“Work in public and private sectors shall be limited to a work-at-home arrangement,” he added.

The enhanced community quarantine, which has taken effect at 12:01 am on Tuesday (March 17) orders strict observation of social distancing measures following the sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Under the Enhanced Community Quarantine and the Stringent Social Distancing Measures over the entire Luzon Island, the following shall be strictly implemented:

  • No classes until April 14, 2020
  • No mass gatherings
  • Households under strict home quarantine (only one person may be allowed access to basic necessities)
  • Regulated provisions on food and essential health services
  • Increased military and police presence
  • Suspended mass public transport
  • Restricted land, air and sea travel
    • Inbound passengers who are allowed to enter Luzon (subject to applicable quarantine procedures if coming from countries with existing travel restrictions)
      • International passengers, in transit
      • Filipino citizens including foreign spouse and children
      • Holders of Permanent Resident Visa
      • Diplomats
  • Transport of medical supplies, laboratory specimens related to the COVID-19, and other humanitarian assistance is allowed
  • Open establishments (with assigned skeletal force under strict social distancing one-meter protocol)
    • public markets
    • convenience stores
    • hospitals
    • medical clinics
    • pharmacies and drug stores
    • food preparation and delivery services
    • water-refilling stations
    • manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products and medicines
    • banks
    • money transfer services
    • power, energy, water, and telecommunications supplies and facilities
    • Business Process Outsourcing establishments and export-oriented industries; skeletal workforce must be provided with temporary accommodation
  • Media personnel shall be allowed to travel within the quarantine area provided they have PCOO media pass.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have been ordered to coordinate with various agencies and create a program that will provide assistance to affected employees and residents of Luzon.

The President also ordered DSWD to ensure that the delivery of food assistance will be unhampered.

President Duterte warned offenders of facing sanctions as the implementation of such strict measures is crucial to the safety of the Filipino public.

“Obey the police and the military. Do not quarrel with them and do not start ruckus that would amount to a violation because you will be arrested and brought to prison — disobedience of authority then acts of public disturbance,” he said. “You can be arrested. Sumunod lang kayo at wala tayong problema (Just follow the rules and we will have no problem),” he concluded.

The above measures are subject to daily review and study of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) until such time that the risk of coronavirus disease subsides. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Checkpoint gimmick gets residents to stay at home

Marje Pelayo   •   March 28, 2020

PAMPANGA, Philippines — Filipinos are known for their creativity and propensity to look on the brighter side of life when faced with any crisis.

Authorities found it a challenge to keep everyone inside their homes under the enhanced community quarantine when the risk of getting infected with the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is high.

To emphasize the importance of home quarantine, checkpoint police at Sto. Tomas in Pampanga thought of a drastic way to convince residents.

They placed an empty coffin at checkpoints and posted a grim reminder: “Stay at Home or Stay Inside.”

Meanwhile, Barangay Sto. Niño in the municipality of San Simon, Pampanga also made use of coffins to deter residents from violating the curfew.

They would make rounds at night carrying a coffin as if on the lookout to fill it with those who are foolish enough to cross their path beyond curfew hours.

Credits to: Louella Castillo Gutierrez

Police Regional Office 3 Director PBGen. Rhodel Sermonia expressed support for the initiative of his men as such measures would deter residents from violating home quarantine and community quarantine protocols.

Sermonia made rounds to inspect each checkpoint in his area and to personally remind motorists to practice preventive measures against COVID-19.

“Ikaw kuya? Wala ka man lang protective guard, hindi ba kayo natatakot? Hindi ba kayo natatakot dito? Sinabi na nga. Basahin mo, ano’ng nakalagay dyan (You? You are not even wearing a protective guard, are you not afraid? Are you not afraid of this? It’s a warning. You read it. What does it say?),” Sermonia said accosting a resident explaining the importance of wearing personal protective gear.  

“Bilhin mo na lahat ang gusto mong bilhin ngayon. Dapat isang beses lang sila sa isang araw. Kapag kayo na-infection, kawawa po kayo (You buy everything you need now. You should only be going out once a day. Once you get infected, you’d suffer),” he told a motorist who was on his way to buy goods.

The general also stressed strict practice of physical distancing among residents walking on the streets.

He personally checked each passerby for their home quarantine pass to make sure they were authorized to go out.

The national government’s enhanced community quarantine is on its 10th day which orders all residents in Luzon to stay at home to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Authorities appealed to the public to refrain from non-essential movements outside their homes to avoid contracting the disease. MNP (with inputs from Lea Ylagan)

Health workers need no DOH accreditation amid enhanced community quarantine —Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   March 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles clarified that health workers are not required to apply for accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH).

Nograles said health workers may present their professional license cards issued by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and an ID card issued by their employer.

These ID cards are enough for them to be exempted from the strict protocols imposed under the enhanced community quarantine due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Napaka-importante po ng tungkulin at trabaho ng ating mga health workers,” the Spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said.

“Our health workers, you are our real-life heroes. We thank you for your sacrifice and your service to the nation. Alam ko po kung gaano kahirap ang trabaho po ninyo at ang tungkulin ninyo kaya hindi namin kayo pahihirapan dito sa accreditation IDs,” he added.

Nograles assured that the government has provided free transport service for health workers affected by the suspension of mass transport during the course of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Starbucks PH, J.CO Donuts pause operations in Luzon stores

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 17, 2020

Starbucks Philippines and J.CO Donuts & Coffee have announced the “temporary pause” of their operations in Luzon due to the implemented enhanced community quarantine.

Starbucks clarified their operations will continue in Visayas and Mindanao.

J.CO Donuts & Coffee also paused their operations in Luzon while their operations in Visayas and Mindanao will continue but with adjusted store hours.

“Please be informed that store operations in Metro Manila and Luzon are temporarily paused. Kindly see our Visayas and Mindanao Schedules for your reference. As always, be safe and healthy!” their post reads.

Meanwhile, 7-Eleven Philippines will implement precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their customers and employees.

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