MMDA: Curfew hours for Metro Manila lockdown; malls, establishments to be shuttered

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila will be placed under curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. for the duration of the lockdown from March 15 to April 14, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced on Saturday.

In a press conference, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the local government units (LGUs) of Metro Manila which compose the Metro Manila Council, have decided to implement the curfew hours to curtail “non-essential” travel.

“Ang curfew na pinag-usapan from 8 pm to 5 a.m., bawal yung magigimmick except for workers,” Garcia said.

(The curfew hours that we decided will be from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.. Those on gimmicks will not be allowed except for workers.)

Going out to buy food is considered an essential purpose, Garcia said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said essential travel will only be allowed beyond curfew hours “if you are going to work, seek medical attention,  buying essential goods and doing official function like government officials.”

The curfew hours will allow the public to stay at home and practice self-quarantine to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease, the MMDA said.

Garcia said they are also mulling to recommend bars, establishments and other related entertainment shops to shut down during the 30-day quarantine which runs from March 15 to April 14.

Meanwhile, the local government units of Metro Manila and concerned national agencies have also agreed to “strongly recommend” the temporary shuttering of malls and other related establishments in the metropolis by way of locally-issued ordinances, as the community quarantine takes effect for 30 days as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

“The Metro Manila Manila Council strongly recommends to all local legislative councils of the NCR to issue an ordinance for temporary closure of malls and related establishment except offering essential services groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants with home deliveries and bank services from March 14, until April 13,” said the resolution which was read by San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora during the press conference at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The resolution also states that the “temporary closure will be subjected to day-to-day evaluation and other exemptions their city or municipality may enact.”

The Philippine government implemented community quarantine in Metro Manila after it upgraded its alert level from Code Red Sub-Level 1 to Code Red Sub-Level 2 because of the evidence of community transmission and prevalence of COVID-19 cases beyond what the government can address.

Currently, the Philippines has 64 confirmed cases, including five deaths, of coronavirus disease, a respiratory disease that was caused by the novel coronavirus. Most of the patients diagnosed with the coronavirus disease are admitted to hospitals from Metro Manila.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged from Wuhan City of Hubei province in China, causes mild symptoms but it can also cause serious illness such as pneumonia for older people and those with other health issues.

Punishment for violating curfew

Asked if people who would leave their homes for non-essential travel will be penalized, Año said only those who would resist after being asked to go home will be arrested.

“Well sisitahin yan, in the case of that pa-u-uwiin. Kung magresist siya, aarestuhin,” he said.

(Well, we will warn them first and they will be asked to go home. If they resist, they will be arrested.)

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar of the Philippine National Police and former director of the National Capital Region Police Office clarified that if there are violations found on those who will resist, they will be apprehended.

“Yes, kung may violations sila aarestuhin, basically gusto natin ilimit yng movement,” he said during an ambush interview.

Edited by MUF