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Davao City, Philippines

Curfew imposed on Metro Manila

March 14, 2020 - Saturday 6:03 PM by PNA , MDM

Article Banner Image ONE MONTH CURFEW. A woman wears a mask as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19 in Manila. The National Capital Region (NCR) will start its one-month curfew today, March 15, to help contain the spread of COVID-19. MARIA TAN / AFP

MANILA – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Saturday announced a month-long curfew in the National Capital Region (NCR) starting today, Sunday (March 15) as part of the measures to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Speaking at a press conference, MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said all Metro Manila mayors have agreed on the implementation of a curfew over the region.

"We passed a resolution unanimously approved, walang kumontra at lahat nagkaisa (no one disagreed), we will be having a curfew in Metro Manila from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.," Garcia said.

The exemptions include workers and people whose movements are "essential" such as doctors, health personnel, and those delivering food.

Garcia added that groceries and markets will remain open in the entire period.

"Ang hinihingi lang po namin ay one month kasi po kapag na-contain natin ang virus na ito in two weeks, 14 days lang hindi na po ito kakalat (We are only asking one month because once we contain the virus in two weeks, it won't spread anymore)," he said.

The curfew is the latest announcement following President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of a community quarantine or the limiting of entry and exit in the capital region.

PARK CLOSED. Osmeña Park in Davao City is temporarily closed to visitors starting March 13 following the implementation of the public health emergency due to COVID-19. ARJOY M. CENIZA

Garcia said the community quarantine is only meant to regulate or limit the movement of people.

"To limit the spread of the virus, we need to limit also the movement of people. What they call lockdown, actually the purpose of that is really slowing the movement of people in Metro Manila," he added.

Interior and Local Government chief Eduardo Año, meanwhile, advised the public to schedule its activities before the set curfew.

"We are in a different time (and) situation, we need cooperation. We really have to regulate the movement of the people," he said.

Social distancing
This developed as Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Saturday issued a memorandum containing a more detailed list of the stringent social distancing measures imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR) effective March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020.

The measures prohibit mass gatherings such as movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work-related gatherings.

VIRAL MEASURE. A City Health Office (CHO) Tropical Disease Prevention and Control Unit member disinfects the pews of San Pedro Cathedral. ARJOY M. CENIZA

Essential work-related meetings and religious activities may continue so long as strict social distancing, defined as the strict maintenance of a distance of at least one meter radius between and among those attending, is maintained during the entirety of the event.

Local Government Units (LGUs) are also told to 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.

The memorandum said if circumstances warrant, the DOH and the DILG may direct an LGU to impose enhanced community quarantine, “which is defined as a condition where strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households, transportation shall be suspended, provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated, and the presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures shall be heightened.”

In addition, memorandum said the movement of cargoes will be unhampered, regardless of origin or destination.

The suspension of classes and school activities in all levels in the NCR will also remain in force until April 14, 2020.

In a statement accompanying the memorandum, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Paneolo said 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.”

“As always, the President is hard at work in the service of the Filipino people to preserve the general welfare and protect public health,” Panelo added. PNA and MDM