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ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, MGCQ: Who can go where?

JC Gotinga

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ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, MGCQ: Who can go where?


Confused by travel restrictions under different levels of community quarantine? Here's your guide to what's allowed and what isn't.

MANILA, Philippines – As community quarantine measures are eased in many parts of the country while others stay under some form of lockdown, people are asking whether they can travel to and from areas under different levels of quarantine.

On Tuesday, May 19, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also spokesperson for the government’s anti-coronavirus policy task force, laid out guidelines for movement within and among areas in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), general community quarantine (GCQ), and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). (READ: EXPLAINER: What’s modified ECQ and modified GCQ?)

What’s allowed in all types of community quarantine?

Movement of frontliners and essential workers

People who fall under the following categories are allowed to travel under any type of community quarantine: 

  1. Health and emergency frontline service personnel
  2. Government officials and frontline personnel
  3. Humanitarian assistance actors (HAA) with authorization
  4. Persons traveling for medical/humanitarian reasons
  5. Persons going to the airport for travel abroad
  6. Returning/repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and overseas Filipinos (OF) returning to their residence
  7. Other persons transported through the efforts of the national government

Shuttle services for medical and emergency frontline personnel are allowed, even encouraged, Roque said.

For humanitarian assistance actors, Roque qualified that they must be “authorized.” There have been incidents of police arresting HAAs, particularly those from progressive groups.

Former senator Jinggoy Estrada was recently arrested by police in San Juan City for distributing relief goods allegedly without informing the local government beforehand.


Movement of all types of cargo, whether by land, sea, or air, is allowed to proceed unhampered in all areas under any type of community quarantine.

Logistics companies, including cargo, trucking, delivery, and port operations, are therefore allowed to operate under any type of community quarantine.

Restriction: Only a maximum of 5 workers are allowed to operate a cargo delivery vehicle, and they must strictly observe physical distancing.

What are prohibited?

The following are prohibited, with the exception of the 7 types of travelers mentioned above, or those “permitted to render work or conduct activities” in their destination:

  • Non-essential entry of persons to an ECQ zone
  • Non-essential entry of persons to a MECQ zone
  • Non-essential exit of persons from an ECQ zone
  • Non-essential exit of persons from a MECQ zone

In short, movement into and out of areas in ECQ and MECQ is restricted.

What are allowed?

The following kinds of travel are permitted:

  • Movement of persons between areas under GCQ or MGCQ, except for leisure purposes
  • Movement of persons between areas under GCQ and those not in community quarantine, except for leisure purposes
  • Movement of persons between areas under MGCQ and those not in community quarantine, without exceptions

In areas under GCQ and MGCQ, regular citizens are freer to move around. However, they are still urged to travel only when necessary – to buy food and essential items, or for work. Travel for leisure is still prohibited. (READ: EXPLAINER: What happens under general community quarantine?)

Recap: Which places are under what form of quarantine?

The following areas are currently under ECQ:

  • Cebu City
  • Mandaue City

The following are under MECQ:

  • Bataan
  • Bulacan
  • Metro Manila
  • Laguna
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Pampanga
  • Zambales
  • Angeles City

The rest of the country is currently under GCQ.

Although no area is currently under MGCQ, the government aims to contain the coronavirus outbreak enough to be able to ease quarantine measures to MGCQ throughout the country.

The government urges all citizens to stay home as much as they can, emphasizing that the threat of COVID-19 has not abated.

As of Monday, May 18, the Philippines has recorded a total 12,718 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 831 deaths and 2,729 recoveries. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.