MANILA – Malacañang has directed local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to ensure the strict implementation of “general” community quarantine in their respective jurisdictions from March 15 to April 14.
The fresh order was among the guidelines crafted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and approved by the Office of the President, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Saturday.
“LGUs shall abide by the directives of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the imposition of general community quarantine in their respective jurisdictions,” Panelo said.
The Palace also released a copy of the memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea by order of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Based on the memorandum signed by Medialdea on Friday, the order takes effect starting “00:00 a.m. of 15 March 2020 until 00:00 a.m. of 14 April 2020.”
Duterte on Thursday night ordered the strict enforcement of community quarantine in the whole of Metro Manila in an effort to contain the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Under the memorandum, a community quarantine could be “general” or “enhanced.”
A “general” community quarantine limits the movement of the people to “accessing basic necessities and work” and directs uniformed personnel and quarantine personnel to be present at border points, according to the memorandum.
The memorandum, meantime, notes that an “enhanced” community quarantine, implements “strict” home quarantine in all households, suspends transportation, regulates food and essential health services, and heightens the presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.
‘Non-essential’ entry, exit of people regulated
All areas under general community quarantine are mandated to restrict the “non-essential” entry of people to the contained area, especially those who are at “high risk of being infected,” including senior citizens, pregnant women, and immunocompromised or with co-morbidities.
Exempted to the restriction are the health workers, authorized government officials, individuals traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, persons transiting to airports for travel abroad, persons providing basic services and public utilities, and essential skeletal workforce.
The implementation of the “general” community quarantine in Metro Manila also prevents the “non-essential exit of people” out of the contained area.
Health workers, authorized government officials, those traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, and those who were granted entry based on the above-mentioned provisions are also exempted, provided that they must be checked for signs and symptoms at exit checkpoints.
They must also secure appropriate certification from the competent health authority and undertake 14-day home-based quarantine.
These, however, are “subject to qualifications that the IATF may further provide.”
Movie screenings, concerts prohibited
The memorandum also disallows “planned or spontaneous” mass gatherings in Metro Manila.
Mass gatherings such as movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work-related gatherings are prohibited.
Essential work-related meetings and religious activities may continue, as long as strict social distancing or a distance of at least one-meter radius between attendees is observed.
Land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila are still prohibited.
The memorandum, however, exempts workers; departing passengers; and individuals aboard vehicles carrying cargoes.
The movement of cargoes will be unhampered, regardless of origin or destination.
All workers, whether employed or self-employed, will be provisionally allowed to travel when they present proof of employment or business at border checkpoints.
Departing passengers, meantime, will be allowed transit through Metro Manila, as long as they can present during checkpoints the proof of confirmed international travel itinerary scheduled within 12 hours from entry.
However, outbound travel to countries where travel restrictions are in place remains prohibited, the memorandum notes.
Overseas Filipino workers will also be allowed to travel to mainland China, except to Hubei province, upon execution of a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved.
“In all cases, the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) shall issue a health advisory guide to the OFWs upon departure,” the order read.
Inbound travelers from Iran and Italy will be required to present a medical certificate issued by competent medical authorities within 48 hours immediately preceding departure signifying that they have tested negative for Covid-19.
The requirement does not apply to Filipino citizens, their foreign spouse and children; and holders of permanent resident visa or diplomatic visa issued by the Philippine government.
The memorandum also authorizes the DOH to grant exemptions, based on humanitarian considerations, in favor of outbound travelers who wish to travel to jurisdictions where restrictions are currently in place.
Classes, work, transportation
Suspension of classes and school activities at all levels in Metro Manila remains in force until April 14.
“All LGUs, with the assistance of the DILG, shall be responsible for implementing measures to ensure that students remain in their homes during the class suspension,” the memorandum said.
Meantime, the memorandum also orders the implementation of alternative working arrangements in the executive branch.
The alternative work schemes include “work-from-home, compressed workweek, staggered working hours, and creation of skeletal workforces.”
All members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, and health and emergency frontline services are directed to continue full operation.
The legislative and judicial branches, as well as the independent constitutional bodies, are encouraged to adopt the same policy.
Flexible work arrangements are also encouraged in the private sector.
The memorandum also allows the continued operation of mass public transport facilities, including the Light Rail Transits, the Metro Rail Transit, and the Philippine National Railways.
‘Enhanced’ community quarantine
Panelo said the DOH and the DILG may direct an LGU to impose “enhanced” community quarantine “if circumstances so warrant.”
“The Palace reiterates that all measures imposed are subject to the regular review by the President and the IATF in order to ensure that the virus would be contained and ultimately eliminated without extremely overwhelming the citizens in going about their daily lives,” he said.
The IATF-EID is tasked to meet regularly to come up with possible new recommendations, which will be approved by Duterte on the same day.
Duterte will stay in Metro Manila during the implementation of the month-long general community quarantine.
Panelo ensured that Duterte and his administration are doing their best to fight Covid-19.
“As always, the President is hard at work in the service of the Filipino people to preserve the general welfare and protect public health,” he said.
The DOH on Friday reported 12 new additional cases of Covid-19 in the country, bringing the total number of infected people to 64. (PNA)