In MECQ, Metro Manila residents can't go to home provinces yet
MANILA, Philippines – Can Metro Manila residents go to their home provinces using private cars while the entire region is under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ)?
Not yet, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
In a radio interview on Sunday, May 17, Roque explained that essential workers or authorized persons outside residence (APOR) are still the only ones allowed to leave and enter Metro Manila, according to the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"Iyong mga leisure po, iyong mga tipong bibisita sa ating mga kamag-anak, kung pupuwede po ay maiwasan po muna iyan kasi talagang wala pa pong ganyang pahintulot ang IATF. Nililimita pa rin po natin sa essential travel," he said. (DOCUMENT: Omnibus guidelines on modified ECQ, modified GCQ)
(Travels for leisure, like those visiting relatives, as much as possible, refrain from doing that, because the IATF is still not allowing it. We're still limiting it to essential travel.)
He then reasoned that President Rodrigo Duterte's return to his hometown Davao City on May 16 after staying put in Malacañang for more than two months falls under the President's duties.
"Kinakailangan niya namang malaman kung ano ang nangyayari sa Mindanao 'no dahil ang buong Mindanao ngayon po ay bumabalik na sa normal. So hindi po naman maaalis sa katungkulan ng Presidente iyan 'no," added Roque.
(The President needs to know what's happening in Mindanao, because the situation's returning to normal there. So we can't say it's not among the President's duties.)
As stated in Section 7 of the IATF's omnibus guidelines, the non-essential entry or exit of persons to or from an area placed under ECQ or MECQ "shall be prohibited" except for those "permitted to render work or conduct activities" inside these zones.
Metro Manila was placed under lockdown on March 15 to stem the spread of COVID-19. After a couple of extensions, the region's lockdown was eased to MECQ, in effect from May 16 until May 31.
Meanwhile, inter-island travel between areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) is now allowed, but Roque noted that there needs to be a go signal first from the Philippine Coast Guard for sea travel or the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for air travel.
Roque also said authorities continue studying whether flights between "regional hubs" are feasible, since the country's major airports like those in Manila, Clark, and Cebu remain closed due to the virus.
The omnibus guidelines, also under Section 7, state that movement of persons across GCQ or modified GCQ "for any purpose other than leisure shall be permitted." – Rappler.com