Duterte places NCR+ under ECQ from March 29 to April 4

Published March 27, 2021, 7:25 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has approved placing the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 4 due to the alarming increase of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided to place NCR, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna under ECQ immediately until April 4, the original last day of the bubble.

Under the ECQ, Roque said there will be the implementation of temporary measures imposing stringent limitations on the movement and transportation of people.

There will be a heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce community quarantine protocols.
Industries allowed to operate will be strictly regulated.

There will also be the provision of food and essential services.

The Omnibus Guidelines on the community quarantine dictate that only essential businesses and industries like those dealing with food and medical services will be allowed to operate.

Meanwhile, public transportation will remain operational but at limited capacity and will be subject to guidelines to be issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Essential priority construction projects shall be allowed subject to the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Mass gatherings, including religious gatherings, are strictly prohibited. This means the previous IATF resolution that allowed the once-a-day religious gatherings for the Holy Week will no longer push through.

Those below 18 years old and above 65, those with comorbidities and other health risks, and pregnant women are required to stay at home except when obtaining essential goods and services.

However, authorized persons outside their residence (APOR) will be allowed outside.

To further limit the movement of people, there will be a strict uniform curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the NCR-plus bubble. APORs, workers, cargo vehicles, and public transportation will not be restricted by such curfew.

The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, national government agencies (NGAs), and the local government units (LGUs) are tasked to implement Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, Reassess (PDITR) actions.

Skeleton workforce

The following industries will be allowed to operate with a skeleton workforce:

  • Other medical, dental, rehabilitation, and optometry clinics, pharmacies, or drug stores
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Banks, money transfer services
  • Telecommunications companies, internet service providers, cable television providers
  • Manufacturing companies and suppliers (construction works such as cement and steel)
  • Funeral and embalming services
  • Security personnel
  • Real estate activities limited to leasing
  • Capital markets
  • Water supply and sanitation services and facilities
  • Energy and power companies
  • Airline and aircraft maintenance, pilots and crew, and employees
  • The Philippine Postal Corporation, Philippine Statistics Authority, business processing outsourcing (BPOs) export business, printing presses
  • Humanitarian assistance personnel from civil society organizations, non-government organizations, United Nations Humanitarian Country Teams
  • Pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or such other religious ministers (conduct of neurological or funeral rites)
  • Repair and maintenance of machinery and equipment

How about the rest?

Meanwhile, the IATF recommended municipality/city scale lockdown in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Quezon, Batangas, and Central Luzon. The following measures may be implemented:

  • Scope of lockdown may be extended to the whole municipality and city
  • Limit inter-zonal mobility, especially into and out of high-transmission areas
  • Limit non-essential travels within the lockdowns
  • Regional IATF/Task Forces should actively monitor and identify and address gaps in PDITR implementation
  • Regional offices of the departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Trade and Industry (DTI) to inspect workplaces and establishments and provide IATF with their findings and action plans
  • Fast track vaccination of priority groups