Palace releases temporary guidelines on Metro Manila community quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday released the temporary guidelines on the Metro Manila community quarantine which will take effect starting March 15 until April 14.
These measures were imposed after the Philippine government raised the alert level to Code Red Sub-Level 2 on Thursday evening following a recorded increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
In a memorandum made public by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Saturday, all heads of local government units, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard, and other government agencies are directed to implement the guidelines on “social distancing measures” in the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) for 30 days.
Class suspension in NCR
Classes and all public activities in schools in all levels are suspended until April 14.
The Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Educational and Skills Development Authority and other agencies will ensure that state universities and colleges, schools and universities and other educational institutions must conduct flexible arrangements to finish students’ requirements.
Meanwhile, the local government units (LGUs) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will make sure that students will stay in their respective homes during the class cancelation.
Public events canceled
The government also prohibited “other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work-related gatherings” including going to movie theaters, concerts, and sports events.
However, important work-related meetings and religious activities may continue but strict social distancing must be implemented.
“Defined as the strict maintenance of a distance of at least one (1) meter radius between and among those attending, is maintained during the entirety of the event,” read the order.
NCR under community quarantine
Government agencies including LGUs, Department of Health (DOH) and DILG were put in charge of imposing the general community quarantine on Metro Manila.
Community quarantine has two kinds: general community quarantine and enhanced community quarantine.
General community quarantine is defined as “a condition where movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work, and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points.”
Meanwhile, enhanced community quarantine means there is strict home quarantine will be implemented in all households, transportation will be suspended, provision for food and essential health services will be regulated, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel will enforce quarantine procedures.
If the situation worsens, the Department of Health and DILG may impose enhanced community quarantine over a specific area.
Flexible working arrangements
Alternative work arrangements will be imposed including “work from home, compressed workweek, staggered working hours, and creation of skeletal workforces” in the Executive Branch.
Meanwhile, personnel of Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine Coast Guard, and health and emergency workers are “directed to continue full operation.”
The members of the legislative and judicial branches “as well as the independent constitutional bodies are encouraged to adopt the same policy.”
Flexible work for private sector
Under a community quarantine, the government encourages flexible work for employees and employers of the private sector.
Guidelines of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry is necessary.
Land, domestic air, domestic sea travel restricted
Under the guidelines, land and domestic travel and domestic sea travel from the National Capital Regions is restricted.
However, for all workers, whether employed or self-employed in Metro Manila will provisionally be allowed to travel but proof of employment must be presented at checkpoints.
Departing passengers will be allowed transit through Metro Manila however with “proof of confirmed international itinerary, scheduled within twelve (12) hours from entry to be presented at checkpoints.”
But traveling to other countries with travel restrictions remains banned.
Meanwhile, movement of “cargoes shall be unhampered, regardless of origin or destination.”
General community quarantine
All areas placed under general community quarantine must implement the following:
- Restrict the non-essential entry and exit of people to the contained area, especially persons who are at high risk of being infected including 60 years old and above, immunocompromised or with co-morbidities and pregnant women.
- Excluded from the prohibition are “health workers, authorized government officials, those traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, persons transiting to airports for travel abroad, persons providing basic services and public utilities, and essential skeletal workforce.”
- All persons leaving the infected community must be observed for signs and symptoms at exit checkpoints where appropriate certification will be issued by the “competent health authority (DOH or Provincial/City/Municipal Health Officer), health authority endorses exiting person to recipient LGU, exiting persons to undertake 14-day home-based quarantine, and LGUs are required to monitor implementation of home-based quarantine.”
In a separate statement, Palace spokesperson and legal counsel Salvador Panelo reiterated that all measures imposed will be reviewed by President Rodrigo Dutert and the government’s task force to ensure that the COVID-19 is contained.
Edited by MUF
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