By Aargyll Cyrus Geducos
Markets were asked to implement the One Entry, One Exit policy to ensure that social distancing is observed in these establishments during the enhanced community quarantine period.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement after receiving reports that there are public markets that reopened Saturday that appear to ignore protocols regarding social distancing.
Nograles, in particular, was referring to Balintawak Market in Quezon City which was flooded with people on Black Saturday despite social distancing guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a virtual presser, Nograles said that while it was already agreed that retail operations at Balintawak Market would be temporarily halted, he said there should be a system to avoid similar scenarios in the future.
He said one of the systems they were looking at was the One Entry, One Exit policy in order to control the people entering and exiting the markets.
“Tulad ng ‘pag bumili ka sa supermarket or sa convenience store or sa drug store, one entry, one exit lang ‘yan. eh. Pwede mo tantsahin ilan ang pwede pumasok (It would be like when you’re in supermarkets or convenience stores or drug stores where there is only one entrance and exit. You can estimate how many people can enter at a time) to make sure na may (that there is) social distancing,” Nograles said on Easter Sunday.
Another system the IATF was studying was the creation of joint social distancing teams that would be deployed to markets to ensure social distancing measures are followed.
The said joint teams will be made up of joint forces from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and with the assistance of the local government units (LGUs).
“Ide-deploy natin sa mga public markets at doon sa mga palengke na maaaring magkaroon ng (They would be depolyed to public markets to avoid) the same as what happened in Balintawak. Para sila po yung mag-enforce ng (They will be the one to enforce) strict social distancing measures,” Nograles said.
Meanwhile, Nograles said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) already coordinated with the LGUs to identify the different public markets in their areas and in order to impose such systems.