BY MARTIN A. SADONGDONG
There will be no travel restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) and four other areas included in the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) “bubble, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr. announced Monday.
He said the NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will be treated as “NCR+” under the newly imposed GCQ “bubble” that began to take effect Monday and will last up to April 4.
A bubble is a non-conventional setup where the entry and exit of people in a particular area or group of areas are limited.
The government insisted that the GCQ bubble is not a lockdown since most businesses were not closed and only travel restrictions were implemented to limit the movement of people.
However, Padilla said that those who will go to areas outside the bubble will have to adhere to the protocols that are implemented by the respective local government unit (LGUs), provided that the travel is considered “essential.”
“If travel is essential (outside NCR+), compliance to the LGU arrival requirement is a must,” he said. The national government released on Sunday the new quarantine classifications in the NCR+, placing them under a unified GCQ bubble. This was done to separate the NCR+ from the rest of Luzon and contain the rise of new COVID-19 infections.
According to Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 104, which contains the rules on the newly-imposed travel restrictions, only essential travel into and out of NCR+ will be allowed during the two-week GCQ bubble.
Essential travels can be done by individuals who are considered as Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs).
These include essential workers with work ID, health and emergency frontline services personnel, government officials and government frontline personnel, duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors, persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, persons going to the airport for travel abroad, anyone crossing zones for work or business and going back home, and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). (Martin A. Sadongdong)