Coronavirus Updates: Metro Manila, Cebu City relax restrictions
(This newsletter was emailed to Rappler subscribers on June 1, 2020)
In our internal editorial outlook for the week, we label Monday, June 1, as “The Hunger Games: NCR, Cavite, and Cebu City Editions.” We take after clever netizens, who understand, from where they sit, that Metro Manila isn’t ready to ease the coronavirus lockdown.
For those returning to work, it will be like getting into a death match – not just because public transportation will be hard, but because the daily new positive cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) have increased from 130-plus to 300-plus to 500-plus in the last two weeks. (A funeral parlor couldn’t resist making a commentary about the risks of going out at this time. How else would we interpret it when a business servicing the dead posts an announcement that Metro Manila would be shifting to GCQ?)
When you have chaos in Metro Manila, that affects its “kitchen” that is Cavite. The Southern Tagalog province is where tens of thousands of the metropolis’ workers reside. It’s been on general community quarantine for two weeks now, yet Governor Jonvic Remulla and the mayors had to reinstate some stringent measures at some point because some residents almost instantly threw safety precautions away on the first day of the GCQ. Put NCR’s lifting of the lockdown in the mix and you can expect traffic, stranded passengers, checkpoint hassles, faster transmission of the virus in the neighboring province.
In the south, expect the same to happen in Cebu City, which – like any other locality which the national government placed in lower-level community quarantine – initially thought it wasn’t ready to allow freer movement. And while the capital city navigates the new setup today, the provincial government of Cebu wants the rest of the other cities and towns to be on an even more relaxed setup: the modified GCQ. (DOCUMENT: Cebu City releases GCQ guidelines)
HOW WILL YOU GET TO WORK?
Rappler called it as soon as Malacañang announced last week the downgrading of the NCR lockdown to a GCQ: there won’t be enough public transportation for people who will be allowed to resume essential work and business. In fact, commuters will be on their own in this looming transportation crisis.
Here are your specific guides:
- GABAY: Bilang ng pasahero sa pampublikong sasakyan sa ilalim ng GCQ
- On June 1, no city buses, traditional jeepneys in Metro Manila yet
- LIST: P2P bus routes starting June 1
- More MRT3 trains but at 13% capacity when Metro Manila enters GCQ
- PNR to deploy 8 trains starting June 1
- Over 23,000 TNVS units, taxis can ply Metro Manila roads again under GCQ
- Motor taxis like Angkas aren’t allowed yet
- Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto encourages biking to work under GCQ
- Labor groups urge government to hire PUVs during quarantine
WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO
As authorities (and our common sense) have been telling us, GCQ and MGCQ aren’t licenses to be careless. After going through one of the world’s longest coronavirus lockdowns (perhaps second only to Colombia), the Philippines has yet to reach its mass testing target of at least 1% of the country’s 110-million population.
So let’s not abandon the practice of going out only when absolutely necessary, wearing face masks when stepping out, bringing along a sanitizer or disinfectant, immediately taking a full bath and disinfecting the clothes we took off, avoiding high-touch surfaces, not touching our face as much as possible, and washing our hands frequently.
Here’s what you can and cannot do yet in Metro Manila and GCQ areas on June 1:
- Travel by air, but still to limited destinations: NAIA set to resume limited domestic flights.
- Go out without a quarantine pass, unless the barangay, town, or city where you live requires it “in critical and buffer zones” or when then the local condition makes it necessary.
- Travel to other provinces or regions, but will have to apply for a travel permit.
- Stay out past 8 pm or before 5 am: Curfews are still in effect. Those coming home from work are exempted from the curfew.
- Get a haircut yet: Salons, barbershops allowed in GCQ areas starting June 7.
- Gather for group worship yet: Churches, venues may hold religious gatherings at half capacity in MGCQ.
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