MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday urged Filipinos to exercise “self-discipline and self-help,” amid the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the fight against Covid-19 would only be successful if everyone heeds the precautionary measures imposed by the government.
“We reiterate our appeal to our countrymen that self-discipline and self-help plus selfless community cooperation are the keys to the success of the enhanced community quarantine in these trying and perilous times,” Panelo said in a press statement.
The entire Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine, which means all households must observe strict home quarantine and limit their movement to accessing basic necessities.
Work and mass public transportation are also suspended in Luzon.
However, policemen, soldiers, authorized government workers, health workers, and people doing essential services are not covered by the work suspension.
Despite the imposition of Luzon-wide quarantine, many public utility vehicles continue to operate and hundreds of commuters are stranded at checkpoints.
Stranded commuters’ plight addressed
Panelo said the Palace immediately asked Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to provide free rides to those who are stranded, including government employees, health workers, and other people who are exempted from the ban.
He said Lorenzana made a prompt action by directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to ferry the stranded people using military trucks.
Panelo said Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairperson Danilo Lim also coordinated with bus transport cooperative Wescapboa, West Cavite Philippine Bus Operators Association, and Jasper Jean Bus Liner.
“We commend these bus companies for their bayanihan (teamwork) spirit,” he said. “They have started to send out their buses after marking the same with the official logo of the MMDA to put law enforcement agents on notice of their purpose of free public service in favor of those exempted from home quarantine.”
Panelo also lauded AVIS Philippines for its offer to transport outbound passengers who intend to depart the country in going to the airport and inbound passengers to their respective homes before the expiration of the 72-hour grace period from the effectivity of the quarantine.
He said the MMDA and the Philippine National Police are now considering the offer of AVIS Philippines.
“Everyone is called upon to rise to the challenges of this dangerous and extremely difficult phase of our history as a nation,” Panelo said.
Home delivery limited to food, medicines
The quarantine over Luzon Island also regulates the provision for food and essential health services.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government can only allow the home delivery of food and medicine supplies.
“’Yun po ay ang pagkain o medisina. So yun lang po ang ating bigyan ng permiso na sila ay makapag-deliver (We can only allow home delivery of food and medicines),” Nograles said during the “Laging Handa” program aired on state-owned PTV-4.
Nograles also noted that one member of each household is allowed to go outside of their home to buy essential goods.
‘Minuscule, temporary’ inconvenience
Panelo ensured that the health crisis in the country brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak would only be “minuscule and temporary.”
He added that the Palace would continue monitoring the latest developments on the Covid-19 cases in the country.
Duterte is “setting the example” as he even went out of Malacañan Palace to check the implementation of the Luzon-wide quarantine, Panelo said.
“The Palace will continue to assess the evolving health crisis to give the appropriate response to any problematic situation during this period even as we assure everyone that the consequent inconvenience arising from this government undertaking is minuscule and temporary as against the end result of securing our safety and survival from the dreaded Covid-19,” he said.
The Philippines has so far 187 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 12 deaths.(PNA)