MANILA, Philippines – In an evening address on Thursday, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a lockdown on Metro Manila to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. The lockdown is set to begin March 15 and will last until April 14; however, this may be lifted or extended anytime if the Duterte government sees fit.
Prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the coronavirus outbreak, the presidential order came after the health department raised the alert level for the coronavirus to its level of Code Red Sublevel 2.
But the President’s announcement led to more questions than answers. (READ: What could happen under a coronavirus lockdown?)
Here are some of the most common questions Filipinos have about the lockdown:
Is it a lockdown or a quarantine?
The IATF resolution recommended a “community quarantine” be imposed on Metro Manila. But while reading the resolution during his evening address, Duterte referred to it as a “lockdown.”
“For Manila, may ‘Ayaw naming gamitin ‘yan,’ pero kasi takot kayong sabihing lockdown, but it’s a lockdown,” he said.
(For Manila, some say ‘We don’t want to use that term,’ but that’s because you’re afraid to call it a lockdown, but it’s a lockdown.)
This caused confusion among many.
what is the correct term will they implement LOCKDOWN or Community quarantine a soft version of LOCKdown. keep safe.
what is the correct term will they implement LOCKDOWN or Community quarantine a soft version of LOCKdown. keep safe.— Christopher Man (@chris2perman) March 13, 2020
How about Filipinos who work in Metro Manila, but live outside – and vice versa?
The IATF resolution stated that “land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila” will be suspended during the lockdown.
Many Filipinos were concerned about how this would affect work and how exactly it would be implemented.
I work in Manila but live in Bulacan, if Manila would be locked down until April, how are we going to work? Are we allowed to travel or what…?
I work in Manila but live in Bulacan, if Manila would be locked down until April, how are we going to work? Are we allowed to travel or what…?— chae (@chae_twt) March 13, 2020
Given we have I.D.s and all info and docu na nagwowork kami sa MM, eh yung public transpo–PUJs or Bus– pwede po ba? How?? Katulad ko po taga-laguna nagwowork sa alabang, paano po? Paano po pag walang private vehicle? Hoow?
Given we have I.D.s and all info and docu na nagwowork kami sa MM, eh yung public transpo–PUJs or Bus– pwede po ba? How?? Katulad ko po taga-laguna nagwowork sa alabang, paano po? Paano po pag walang private vehicle? Hoow?— Random (@randommessg) March 13, 2020
Are there specific guidelines to traveling to/from MM for work aside from IDs and if this pushes through, checkpoints will have to check each person in a commuter bus if they have work IDs?
Are there specific guidelines to traveling to/from MM for work aside from IDs and if this pushes through, checkpoints will have to check each person in a commuter bus if they have work IDs?— Conrad Eric Cruz (@Decepticons78) March 13, 2020
Re: This tweet below
Are there only certain days when provincial residents will be allowed to go to/from Metro Manila (e.g. work days only)? What else do we need to know abt this exception? https://t.co/9vIEwqoQnB https://t.co/UicSgSp6CD
Re: This tweet below
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año later clarified that workers and business people from the provinces will be allowed to enter the capital provided they present identifying documents that prove they work in Metro Manila. Screening will be done through checkpoints, though details on how this will be enforced have yet to be announced.
At the same time, Año encouraged the private sector to work from home to reduce the number of travelers going in and out of the metro.
As for informal workers, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez advised them to sell outside Metro Manila.
How about other travel plans?
Apart from work-related travel, Filipinos wondered whether the lockdown would affect previously booked trips, international travel, access to airports, and passport appointments.
Hi! Paano po kapag may international flights na manggagaling sa province? Hindi po ba papapasukin, hindi po ba kami pwede pumunta ng NAIA? Do we need to cancel our flights?— GOT7 deserves the world(@withgot7forever) March 13, 2020
Need clarification on international flights. I will be flying to another country and will be travelling by land from the province to get to NAIA during the lockdown. Am I allowed to enter NCR? #COVID19 #ManilaLockdown @DILGPhilippines
Need clarification on international flights. I will be flying to another country and will be travelling by land from the province to get to NAIA during the lockdown. Am I allowed to enter NCR? #COVID19 #ManilaLockdown @DILGPhilippines— models.org (@HeyDreDreamer) March 13, 2020
The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 also conducted a dry run of social distancing in train stations on Friday morning, March 13, in preparation for the lockdown’s implementation.
Other transportation officials have yet to draft implementing guidelines on travel restrictions due to the lockdown.
How about people’s basic needs?
Several Filipinos were already worried about access to food, supplies, and other resources long before the President’s address. Citizens queued in supermarkets in a scramble for groceries, and the lack of supply of face masks even led private hospitals to improvise and provide makeshift cloth masks to health workers.
After Duterte’s order, Filipinos asked how the government could ensure basic needs for everyone in the country. Others worried about how this would affect deliveries and shipments.
For Food Deliveries in and out the Metro : How will this be checked?
For Food Deliveries in and out the Metro : How will this be checked?— irish (@thereal_IRISH) March 13, 2020
All deliveries of goods from manila to other cities/provinces are allowed?
All deliveries of goods from manila to other cities/provinces are allowed?— G R Z L (@grazelpus) March 13, 2020
A day after the President delivered his address, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles assured the public that the transport and supply of basic necessities and essential goods will continue despite the lockdown.
Other countries have also resorted to panic buying amid the pandemic. Shoppers in Singapore and Los Angeles cleared shelves off supermarkets, while residents in Wuhan, China resorted to online group-buying services for food. Residents in Hong Kong even resorted to armed robbery to get a hold of toilet rolls.
How are police and military involved?
Duterte said the police and military are part of the task force. Several uniformed members were present at the evening address, including Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Felimon Santos Jr and Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay.
Later in his address, Duterte was more specific with the details, and stated things “could be messy.” He claimed the police and military would “maintain order” in the country, and warned Filipinos not to pick a fight with officials and law enforcers.
However, the President was quick to clarify: “Hindi ito martial law,” he said. (READ: ‘Not martial law,’ Duterte says of Metro Manila lockdown over coronavirus)
“It has nothing to do with the power of the military nor the power of the police nor my power and these guys beside me. It’s just an issue of protecting public interest and public health,” he added.
This led many Filipinos to be more suspicious about the lockdown.
Is it a prelude to martial rule?
Is it a prelude to martial rule?— Sonata Ysrael (@SonataYsrael) March 13, 2020
The presence of 2 military behind DUTERTE was reminiscent of a Colombian fascist, & his speech was basically about suspending writ of habeas corpus—ARRESTING any youth roaming the streets after classes, & LOCKING DOWN MNL.— Francis Baraan IV (@MrFrankBaraan) March 12, 2020
COVID19 PRESSCON BA YUN, O DEKLARASYON NG MARTIAL LAW? pic.twitter.com/xNUDoB0n2a
Based on what Duterte said, you can be arrested by military and police if you do not obey their rules. This is Martial Law.— Lanz Espacio (@lanzespacio) March 12, 2020
A day after Duterte’s address, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Major General Debold Sinas said the Philippine National Police (PNP) would arrest people who violate the lockdown. Sinas issued this statement even if Duterte has not yet released an executive order or memorandum circular as basis for the lockdown.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the military will not be involved in defining the parameters of the lockdown, and will only help the police in enforcing it.
What other questions do you have about what the President announced last Thursday? Send us your questions in the comments! – Rappler.com