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Metro Manila community quarantine: What You Need to Know


The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) adopted several measures as the country raised Code Red Sub-Level 2 due to risks posed by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

On Thursday night, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila will be subjected  to "community quarantine" to protect the public from the contagion.

Here are some of the major takeaways that may help you plan your activities for the upcoming weeks:

Local mobility

Domestic land, air, sea travel will be suspended to and from Metro Manila starting midnight of March 15, 2020 to April 14, 2020.

The travel restrictions shall be subject to daily assessment of situation by the IATF-EID, according to Duterte.

Employers may issue IDs or proof of employment to their workers who live outside Metro Manila that may be used as special passes when they travel to work.

Guidelines on special exemptions for patients, government officials, and other cases are still being drafted, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Uniformed personnel will be deployed along the borders of the National Capital Region for enforcement of the local travel ban.

The train systems in the metro?—LRT, MRT, and PNR—shall remain operational for public use but shall implement "social distancing" measures.

International arrivals and departures

Those coming to and from abroad via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila shall be allowed entry "subject to travel restrictions" that are currently in place.

Filipino citizens, their foreign spouses, children, and holders of permanent resident and diplomatic visas who are arriving from abroad will have to follow certain quarantine measures as they enter the country.

Foreign nationals flying out back to their country of origin will also be allowed to do so.

More stringent protocols will be set to screen those arriving from countries with local transmission of COVID-19. Detailed guidelines for arriving foreign travellers will be released by the task force soon.

Anyone coming in from abroad via NAIA will have to remain inside Metro Manila until the local travel ban is lifted.

Nograles encouraged those who are heading to areas outside Metro Manila to use alternative airports for their arrival such as Clark and Cebu for easier navigation to other provinces.

Food supply

The public is advised not to hoard food and other basic necessities as transport of goods between Metro Manila and provinces will not be hampered, Nograles said.

Therefore, residents of the national capital region should not worry about the supply of food and their other needs during the quarantine period.

"Huwag po tayong mag-hoard ng pagkain at iba pang kagamitan. Hindi po tayo mauubusan," Nograles said.

"Basta cargo ho ang dala ng pahinante at driver, allowed po iyan pati paglabas nila. May delivery receipt naman po," Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Price freeze on certain food items, medical supplies, and other necessities  will be enforced for 60 days.

Class suspension

All classes in Metro Manila will be suspended until April 14, 2020.

According to the Department of Education, a special formula for computation of grades and online exams may be adopted. Schedule of graduation rites will likewise be rescheduled.

Teachers are not required to be present in schools unless otherwise directed by the division superintendent, according to Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua.

Government work

Work at the executive branch of the government have been suspended but skeletal workforce will be put in place to ensure that the delivery of public services will not be compromised.

In the legislative branch, the Senate will conduct "business as usual" while the House of Representatives suspended work up to April 12.  Congress is currently on break.

Meanwhile, all court hearings are suspended from March 13 to 18, according to the Supreme Court.

Frontline services of SSS, PhilHealth, and GSIS shall remain in place, Nograles said.

Financial sector

Bank and stock market operations shall continue during the community quarantine period.

ATMs will be regularly replenished and the public need not panic in withdrawing cash, according to Lopez.

Filing of income taxes with the Bureau of Internal Revenue cannot be extended further beyond April 15, 2020 but amendment of returns without payment of interest can be allowed subject to certain conditions, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

Courts

Courts in the National Capital Judicial Region will operate only with a skeletal force from March 15 to April 12 as a precautionary measure against the spread of the COVID-19.

The justices of the Supreme Court (SC), Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, and the Sandiganbayan and the judges of the first- and second-level courts in the region "must be on stand-by during this period to act on and hear urgent matters," Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said, as announced by the SC's Public Information Office (PIO) Friday.

The SC also created a task force that will recommend actions, guidelines, and policies to the justices to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, and monitor the conditions of justices, judges, officials, personnel, workplaces, and issuances of the executive and legislative departments to harmonize actions of the judiciary, the PIO said.

The task force will be chaired by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.

 

Cancelled events, mass gatherings

As mass gatherings are "prohibited" to avoid the transmission of COVID-19, those who would have to cancel their bookings and reservations on different establishments may ask for refund.

Dapat ho may refund kasi po force majeure po iyon (an event or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled) . Huwag silang matakot na 'Paano ito nag-down [payment] na kami tapos ayaw i-refund.' Pwede po silang mag-complain sa DTI," Lopez said.

Consumers with such concerns may call DTI's hotline at 1384.

Public celebration of the Holy Mass and public activities in churches in the Archdiocese of Manila have been temporarily cancelled from March 14 to March 20. —With reports from Nicole-Ann Lagrimas/LDF, GMA News

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