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Metro Manila curfew set

MAP of Metro ManilaBy JEL SANTOS

Local government units (LGUs), upon the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), will impose a 30-day curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the metropolis this week to prevent the public from going outside their homes and be at risk of getting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This was announced by Metropolitan Manila Development Agency General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia after the five-hour meeting of the MMC – composed of Metro Manila mayors – with officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

He said that the curfew would be implemented upon the passage of an ordinance.

“Kapag naglabas na local ordinance mga mayors. Most probably next week. Most probably next week,” he said in a text message.

Garcia had earlier said the curfew will take effect on March 15.

He said all Metro Manila mayors agreed to implement the curfew.

“Ang virus ay hindi airborne, hindi siya tumatakbo or naglalakad. Ang naglalakad ay ang carrier – ang tao. So, to limit the spread of the virus, we need to limit also the movement of the people…That is why we passed a resolution unanimously approved by the mayors, we will be having a curfew in Metro Manila from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.,” Garcia said.

Workers, he said, are exempted from the curfew especially those whose jobs are essential to the health and security of the public. “Pero of course, may exemptions po, ang mga nagtratrabaho –‘yung essentials po,” Garcia said.

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP deputy for operations, said workers must always bring their proof of employment and identification cards. “Always bring your proof of employment so that you can show it to authorities once they asked why you are still out even it is already curfew,” he said

The MMDA General Manager said that the target of the curfew are the partygoers who put themselves at risks by going to crowded bars where they might get infected with COVID-19. “Ang target ng curfew natin ay ang mga gumigimik lang kung saan-saan. Ito ‘yung kung saan-saan pumupunta o nakiki-party. Iyan po ay bawal na ho,” he said.

According to Garcia, the curfew can be lifted anytime should it be deemed that the virus is already contained.

“We will impose this for 30 days pero depending pa rin kasi kapag na-contain na nang maigi ang virus. Maari kasi na within 14 days, na-contain nang maigi so maari na i-lift noon,” he said. “Please just cooperate for now, this is for the safety of everyone in Metro Manila.”

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said defiant people without essential activities outside their homes during the curfew will get arrested should they resist to go home.

“Well, sisitahin ‘yan in the case of that ay pauuwiin. Kung mag-resist, aarestuhin siya,” he said. “Only those with essential tasks are allowed to go outside, those with works and those who will buy medicines,” Año added.

Eleazar agreed with Año and said that if a person will violate any law, he will get apprehended, saying the government only wants to ensure the safety of the public. “Stay at home if you are not emergency workers or you do not have any important business outside your homes.”