Philippine government declares curfew in Metro Manila due to COVID-19 crisis

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Duterte and Military

Philippine government authorities will enforce a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Metro Manila to limit non-essential movement during the month-long community quarantine that begins Sunday, March 15.

Workers and those involved in essential services will be exempt from the curfew, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chief Jose Arturo Santillan Garcia Jr. said in a press conference.

“Hindi naman po dadamputin ito. Pagsasabihan lang na nandito ang PNP na umuwi na kayo kung hindi importante ang lakad ninyo (Violators will not be arrested, just warned to go home if their appointment is not important.),” said Garcia.

Garcia, however, clarified that those covered by the curfew are non-essential activities such as “‘yung mga gumigimik lang, kung saan-saan nagpupunta, nakikibarkada, nakiki-party. Lahat ‘yan bawal na muna.”

Exempted from the curfew are all workers.

The government raised the Code Red Sub-Level 2 alert on Thursday due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced tougher measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, including work and class suspensions as well as travel restrictions, as part of a “community quarantine” in Metro Manila.

The Palace released on Saturday the  guidelines on social distancing and community quarantine in Metro Manila covering class cancellations, travel restrictions, transportation guidelines, among others.

The MMDA also urged business establishments, such as shopping malls, to close down to limit the movement of people during the quarantine period.

Only groceries, pharmacies, banks, restaurants with home deliveries, and other essential establishments should be allowed to operate.

“The bottomline is people are advised to stay home. Kung wala kang gagawin stay home.  (The bottomline is people are advised to stay home. If you have nothing essential to do, stay home.),” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.

Ano said residents are still allowed to go out if they are getting groceries, food or medicines.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said Metro Manila mayors unanimously approved the resolution to impose a curfew in the Philippine capital region to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Under the quarantine, land, domestic air and sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be banned with exemptions, mass gatherings will be prohibited, while those going out for basic necessities are required to observe a 1-meter radius from the next person./Stacy Ang

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