Metro Manila curfew is just a burden for workers – BMP
MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Manila curfew, which runs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., is a “burden” to workers who have to travel to or from their workplace within those hours, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) said in a statement on Monday.
Particularly affected are workers on the 2 p.m.-to-10 p.m. shift and the 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. shift, the BMP pointed out.
Even those who have to be at their offices at 8 a.m. are affected, as they could not get out before 5 a.m., which shortens their travel time.
“By restricting public transportation on said hours, we are reminded of medical workers and essential frontliners, who had to walk before and after their grueling shifts, and of the abuses to motorcycle riders at police checkpoints during last year’s Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ),” the BMP said.
The curfew, which started being imposed on Monday, was proposed by Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and adopted by the Metro Manila Council (MMC), which is composed of all the mayors in the region.
The MMC is the policy-making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The curfew is aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus in Metro Manila, which is facing a fresh surge of COVID-19 cases.
Analytics group OCTA Research speculated that it may be due to undetected transmission of new variants. The group said that, if left unchecked, the surge could reach 4,000 new cases daily in Metro Manila by the end of March.
During the announcement of the curfew last Thursday, MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos gave an assurance that workers in essential industries — including 24-hour food delivery services — would be allowed to go out during the curfew.
Still, the BMP had some reservations about the curfew.
“We also have stark memories of the discriminatory implementation of the quarantine and health protocols along with the harassment (and killing, as in the case of Winston Ragos) of alleged violations to ECQ guidelines,” the BMP said in its statement on Monday.
“If the intention in the proposed uniform night curfew is to restrict the movement of people to quell SARS-COV2 transmission — and while government does not have the capacity to provide people with their basic needs, which forces the workers to leave their houses and risk their very lives for their livelihood — the least it could do is to ensure their safe transport,” it added.
The BMP also urged the government to change its perspective about the causes of COVID-19 surges.
“However, we believe that the order for a uniform night curfew is not only caused by reactive panic attack with the spike in COVID19 incidence. It is also goaded on by the erroneous, insulting, and harmful mindset that the Filipino people, especially the workers and the poor, are to blame for the apparent second wave of the pandemic in the country,” BMP said.
“We fear that the two-week night curfews would only lead to more grave abuses against the people. Indeed, the war on the poor rages on, and is escalating,” it added.
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