The public is being encouraged to stay at home at all times as the strict lockdown officially starts this March 29, specifically for zones inside NCR Plus.
The NCR Plus region, which is under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bubble for a week, includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
The move into an intensified quarantine setting was announced on Friday (March 27) not long after the country breached 700,000 in COVID-19 infections. According to the Department of Health’s tally for March 28, the current number of active infections in the country is 105,568.
To supervise the implementation of the lockdown, the Philippine National Police has positioned 9,356 officers and installed more than a thousand checkpoints inside the NCR Plus bubble.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana urged the public to stay at home at all times. He points out that the lockdown is only going to last for a period of seven days and asked the public to follow the measures to a tee.
“Again, hindi po natin pinapahintulutan ang non-essential travels. Hinihikayat po natin ang ating mamamayan for this particular period of time, 1 week, until April 4, manatili na lang po tayo sa ating tahanan, magnilay-nilay,” Usana stressed.
As part of the strengthened lockdown protocols, an 11-hour curfew has been set up from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. According to Usana, the transportation of goods and movement of frontline and essential workers will be unaffected by the newly imposed rules.
When it comes to commute, a two-hour travel time has been set up for those going home from work. However, Usana insists that private entities provide shuttles for their employees.
“Kung merong ibang nagtatrabaho sa kanilang pribadong establisyimiento, hinihikayat ng gobyerno na ihatid sila ng shuttle services. Pagsapit ng alas-sais ng gabi wala nang movement na ginagawa,” he said.
He adds that no special documents are required for those allowed to travel, noting a simple identification card is enough.
“ID lang po. Hindi na po kailangan mag-require ang pulis ng kahit anong dokumento. ‘Pag walang dokumento, hihikayatain bumalik ang mamamayan,” he shared.
Due to the worsening pandemic situation in the country, the Philippine Government has received a lot of flak for its response to the pandemic.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque defended the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) from criticisms to its response to the pandemic, especially from those blaming the task force for the surge in COVID-19 cases inside the country.
“Sa mga nagsasabi na kasalanan daw po ito ng IATF, eh siguro naman po iyong karanasan ng buong mundo na dumami ang mga kaso ng COVID-19 dahil nga po sa mga bagong variant at magpapatunay na talagang iyong virus po ang kalaban, hindi po gobyerno, hindi po ang IATF,” Roque remarked.
Before the ECQ, the areas of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were initially put under a general community quarantine bubble by the government in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. The said GCQ bubble started on March 22 and was supposed to last until April 4.
You can watch the clip of the interview below.
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