Curfew, other restrictions back in Subic Bay Freeport

Randy V. Datu

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Curfew, other restrictions back in Subic Bay Freeport

COVID-19. A security guard enforces social distancing among mall-goers in the Subic Bay Freeport.

File photo from SBMA

People from the 'NCR Plus' bubble will be allowed into Subic only for business purposes

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Monday, March 22, reimposed curfew and previous entry and mobility restrictions in the Subic Bay Freeport to help curb the spread of COVID-19 amid surging cases.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said that from March 22 until April 4, curfew hours in the Subic Bay Freeport will be from 12 midnight to 5 am.

She added that personnel traveling to and from work in the Freeport during curfew hours would be required to show SBMA-issued gate passes and company ID cards.

Cargo deliveries, on the other hand, will be unimpeded at all times in Subic, although their crew would be required to strictly observe health safety protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields.

Eisma also said the SBMA has determined that people from the “NCR Plus” bubble will be allowed into Subic only for business purposes and must show email confirmation of appointment in the Freeport.

“Those from ‘NCR Plus’ who would stay in Subic for more than 24 hours will be required to show negative RT-PCR test results with a validity of 24 hours, while persons from MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) areas who would stay here for four days and three nights or beyond will also be required to undergo RT-PCR test,” she said.

The “NCR Plus” bubble includes the National Capital Region and its neighboring provinces Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.

The SBMA chief said they would also strictly enforce restrictions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases under Resolution No. 96 prohibiting people below 15 years and over 65 years of age, pregnant women, and people with comorbidities from going outside except for food, work, or exercise.

The SBMA also barred children below 3 years old from Subic beaches, prohibited the consumption of alcoholic drinks in public areas, and temporarily banned picnicking at public spaces like the Waterfront, Boardwalk Park, the Malawaan Park, and the San Bernardino Road.

In an announcement last Sunday, March 21, Eisma reminded Subic stakeholders to stay home and suspend non-essential travel in view of the “alarming resurgence of the COVID-19 virus and the growing number of new positive cases in the country.”

Since 2020, the SBMA has recorded 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases among Freeport residents, 32 among guests and transient workers, and 30 among SBMA employees, with just six active cases in the three groups as of the moment.

“While the Subic Bay Freeport Zone remains to be one of the urban communities in the country with the least number of cases, we have to take more proactive measures to protect our ourselves, our family, our livelihood, and the bigger community we live in. We cannot afford another lockdown, so we must do all we can to prevent it,” Eisma pointed out.

To continue providing services to the public while minimizing risks among SBMA employees, the SBMA reverted to alternating teams that would man the offices in the next two weeks.

“Prudence is always the better part of valor. And with prudence, we ensure our own protection and those of our loved ones and the Subic community. Just as important, we also guarantee that economic activities in Subic continue for all our sake,” Eisma said. –

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