As the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine took effect on Tuesday, hundreds of commuters found themselves stranded at checkpoints and terminals, according to Unang Balita reports.
Most of the stranded commuters were ordinary workers who said they did not have enough time to prepare for what they described as a "lockdown."
The enhanced community quarantine—implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—took effect at 12 a.m., hours after President Rodrigo Duterte announced it via a videotaped message.
As seen on Bam Alegre's tweets, the implementation of the enhanced quarantine caused a traffic gridlock along Marcos Highway, particularly at the boundary of Antipolo in Rizal and Marikina City where a police-military checkpoint has been set up.
Boundary ng Marikina at Antipolo, Rizal sa Marcos Highway matapos ipatupad ang enhanced community quarantine. Mga residente ng Marikina, health professionals at food deliveries lang ang pinapalusot sa westbound lane @gmanews pic.twitter.com/ujkkxyOzkH— Bam Alegre (@BamAlegre_) March 16, 2020
As daylight came, many commuters and motorists were still seen stranded at the said boundary. One by one, uniformed personnel inspected the commuters and later on allowed Marikina residents to pass.
At the boundary of Caloocan City and San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan, some commuters and motorists on their way home from work were allowed to pass, according to GMA News' Darlene Cay.
Many of those who were on their way to work, however, were barred from passing through the checkpoint.
Later on, however, employees of banks, pharmacies, markets and call centers were allowed to pass.
Some of the stranded workers had a heated argument with uniformed personnel as they insisted to let them pass.
Despite the suspension, some jeepneys were still operating near Balintawak as well as near the border of Muntinlupa and San Pedro, Laguna.
According to a report of Mariz Umali on Unang Balia, uniformed personnel said if the public would only observe home quarantine strictly, there would be no huge crowds at checkpoints.
There were also no available thermal scanners for personnel to use at the checkpoint at the border of San Pedro, Laguna and Muntinlupa City.
At the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITx), commuters who were going home from work Monday night were also stranded. They expected the terminal to still operate as many passengers were still waiting in long lines.
The stranded commuters at PITX complained that there was no advisory poster set informing them beforehand of the suspension of operation, according to Corinne Catibayan's report on Unang Balita.
At the Valenzuela-Meycauayan boundary along MacArthur Highway, Duterte visited the Valenzuela-Meycauayan boundary along MacArthur Highway where commuters and motorists were stranded after the enhanced community quarantine took effect after midnight on Tuesday, GMA News' Jonathan Andal reported.
After Duterte left the area, security personnel at the site removed the barriers and allowed people to pass.
Under enhanced community quarantine, classes and all school activities in all levels are suspended until April 14 and mass gatherings are prohibited.
Work in the executive branch of government shall be in a work-from-home arrangement except for the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard and health and emergency frontline services, border control and other critical services.
In the private sector, only private establishments providing basic necessities will be allowed to operate.
Meanwhile, stranded commuters and motorists failed to observe social distancing — one of the measures ordered by the government to combat COVID-19. Some of them were infuriated, some tired.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country was at 142 as of Monday night after the Department of Health confirmed two new cases. —KBK/KG, GMA News