Mixed Martial Arts

No total lockdown in Quezon City? Belmonte says police lacks manpower

Loreben Tuquero
In a city with the most number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines to date, only 2 barangays are under extreme enhanced community quarantine

NO LOCKDOWN YET. Quezon City Health workers disinfect the surroundings of a barangay. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Despite its big number of coronavirus cases, Quezon City will not be placed under total lockdown yet due to insufficient police force, Mayor Joy Belmonte said on Thursday, March 19. 

The national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on the coronavirus outbreak earlier imposed a Metro Manila-wide lockdown, allowing city-wide quarantine when at least 2 positive coronavirus cases live in different barangays.

As of Wednesday night, March 18, there were already 34 confirmed coronavirus cases in Quezon City, the highest number of cases in any local government unit in the country, based on the health department’s monitoring. They are spread across at least 22 barangays, with some villages hosting multiple cases.

The city is the Philippines’ largest and most populated, with almost 3 million residents based on the 2015 census.

According to Belmonte, 3 of the coronavirus patients have already recovered while one died.

But the city government is implementing a total lockdown, or extreme enhanced community quarantine, only in two villages: Barangay Tandang Sora and Barangay Kalusugan, which have multiple coronavirus cases each.

Some residents have questioned the wisdom behind this decision.

Special case?

Belmonte said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) acknowledged Quezon City as a special case.

Ang lungsod kasi natin ayon sa DILG, DOH [Department of Health] ay kakaiba dahil napakalaki. So if you put everything under extreme enhanced community quarantine or heightened enhanced community quarantine, magkukulang po talaga ang manpower resources ng atin pong Quezon City Police District. Maooverstretch po, at hindi po magiging epektibo dahil sa laki po ng ating lungsod,” Belmonte said in an interview on DZBB. 

(Our city, according to the DILG, DOH, is different because it is very large. So if you put everything under extreme enhanced community quarantine or heightened enhanced community quarantine, the manpower resources of the Quezon City Police District will be insufficient. It will be overstretched, and it will not be effective because of the size of our city.)

In Tandang Sora and Kalusugan, which are under the “extreme enhanced community quarantine” due to 3 coronavirus cases each, household members of coronavirus patients are not allowed to leave their residences, and people within a 500-meter radius from coronavirus patients’ houses are under strict monitoring and surveillance. Food is delivered by barangay officials to those not allowed to leave their homes.

‘Heightened’ quarantine

According to Belmonte, villages with only one coronavirus case are under “heightened enhanced community quarantine,” which also entails stricter surveillance and monitoring but not as extreme as the ones in Tandang Sora and Kalusugan.

As of Wednesday, there were 20 villages under “heightened enhanced community quarantine.”

All the other barangays in Quezon City fall under the enhanced community quarantine imposed by the national government.

The city government said it will be providing two weeks worth of food for 400,000 families who were displaced by the enhanced community quarantine– Rappler.com


Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.