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Senators to Duterte: Spell out guidelines of Metro quarantine

Several senators on Friday urged Malacañang to clearly spell out the guidelines regarding the implementation of President Duterte’s directive placing the entire Metro Manila on a 30-day “community quarantine” to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Sen. Grace Poe said frontline state agencies should ensure that the delivery of basic services would not be disrupted by the metrowide lockdown, which will take effect from March 15 until April 14.

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“We recognize [the] efforts of the government to implement bolder steps to address a public health crisis. However, these measures need clear-cut guidelines to avoid public confusion and ensure effective enforcement,” Poe said in a statement.

Guarantee food, water, etc.

“Everyone must be guaranteed with clean water supply, sufficient food, credible and up-to-date information, reliable means of communication and transportation,” she said.

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Senate defense committee chair, said the public should support Mr. Duterte’s order in fighting the global pandemic despite the inconveniences it could cause.

He, however, said the government should immediately provide “practical [and] effective ways of implementing it to serve its real purpose for our country to survive this unprecedented crisis that we are facing.”

‘All in this together’

For their part, members of the Senate minority bloc vowed to work with the administration in passing emergency legislation and to introduce “science-based and multisectoral, and people-centered and vulnerable-focused actions.”

“This pandemic is also an opportunity to work together because we are all in this together,” Senators Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan and Leila de Lima said in a joint statement.

Up until Friday afternoon, government officials and private businesses have yet to receive clear guidelines on how the community quarantine will play out and impact Cavite, Laguna and Rizal with several entry points to the Metro.

Thousands on a daily basis travel back and forth specifically from the cities of Bacoor and Imus in Cavite and in San Pedro and Biñan cities in Laguna, all of which lie in close proximity to Metro Manila.

How about informal sector?

Joseph Gacosta and Guido Recio, the Department of Labor and Employment directors in Cavite and Laguna, respectively, said workers would be allowed to travel back and forth to Metro Manila as long as they could present company identification cards once at the borders to be manned by the Philippine National Police.

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But how about those from the informal sector, such as vendors who buy goods from Quiapo and Baclaran in Manila to resell in the provinces?

In a public market in Los Baños, Laguna, vendors were particularly concerned about transporting vegetables from Divisoria to Laguna.

“I understand all [sectors] are important but I think those with not too essential purposes [to go to Manila], they better not [travel] at this time [because] otherwise, you defeat the purpose [of a community quarantine],” Recio said.

Private bus companies with daily trips to Manila were also still waiting for guidelines on the trips once the Metro is placed under a quarantine.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: COVID-19, Malacañang, Metro quarantine, President Duterte
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