Absurd questions on ‘lugaw’? Blame it on unclear ECQ rules — Reyes
MANILA, Philippines — The uncertainty of “lugaw” or rice porridge as one of the essential goods — and food delivery as an essential service — stems from the national government’s confusing quarantine regulations, an activist said on Wednesday.
According to Bagong Alyansanng Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes, it is only in the Philippines that there is a need to clarify that food delivery like rice porridge is important that should not be impeded.
Reyes was referring to the latest brouhaha to sweep the country— a viral video showing a delivery rider being stopped by barangay officials in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, for making food deliveries during the 6:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew.
Bulacan is part of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bubble that included Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, or areas with COVID-19 surges.
“Sa Pilipinas lang talaga kailangan ilinaw pati ang lugaw bilang essential. Ganun kagulo ang ginagawang ECQ guidelines kaya ang daming abusado,” Reyes said on Twitter.
(Porridge needs to be explained as important only in the Philippines. That is the confusing nature of the ECQ guidelines; many are prone to abuse.)
Earlier, videos of the rider who was stopped in San Jose del Monte’s Muzon area went viral on social media. The barangay official claimed that the “lugaw” is not a necessary item and that people can survive without it.
This, despite Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) resolutions allowing food delivery operations to resume even during an ECQ, with courier services delivering essential items allowed to operate at full capacity.
Even Malacanang responded to the issue, clarifying that lugaw and other food products are deemed important.
Aside from the confusion, Reyes also asked what the science behind the 6:00 p.m. curfew is.
“Also, ano ba siyensya sa likod ng 6pm curfew? Bakit 6pm? #LugawIsEssential” he added.
Reyes is not the first to notice that the ECQ regulations have been confusing. On Tuesday, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla noted that the continuously evolving ECQ laws have resulted in confusion, joking that the quarantine should be called an “enhanced confusion quarantine.”
In combination with the ECQ status, the government implemented a curfew to help contain the rising number of COVID-19 patients across the bubble. According to the most recent data available on the Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracker, 92,469 of the 124,680 active COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday were located inside the ECQ bubble.
On Wednesday, an additional 6,128 COVID-19 patients pushed the active case count to 130,000 — a surge that health experts attribute to the spread of more transmissible variants of concern.
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