The Philippine government released more information on its implementation modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) which will take effect from May 16 to May 31 in Metro Manila, Laguna and Cebu City.
In a press briefing in Malacañang on May 13, 2020, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr discussed the pertinent details to the transition from the various quarantine phases before going into the new normal phase.
“Unti-unti, dahan-dahan, hinay-hinay. Yan po ang mga gagawin nating hakbang para matapos ang ating tinatawag na mga community quarantine, “ Roque said, adding that everything remains flexible depending on the circumstances.
The Palace spokesman gave a detailed presentation of the allowed activities and industries and other details on the government’s plans to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in various community quarantine situations. These include plans on how to the transition from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to MECQ, from MECQ to a general community quarantine (GCQ), from GCQ to a modified GCQ (MGCQ), before going to the new normal.
“Nagsimula tayo sa ECQ, gagawin nating modified ECQ, papunta sa GCQ at susunod po ang modified GCQ bago po tayo magkaron ng New Normal,” said Secretary Roque.
According to the phased transition plan for the transition from ECQ to GCQ, restrictions are still in place under MECQ: People still need to stay at home, limited outdoor exercise are allowed like outdoor walking, jogging, and biking as long as safety protocols are observed, and mass gatherings are still highly restricted (up to 5 persons maximum are allowed).
In MECQ areas, there are still no public transport, there will be no domestic flights except for limited international flights, and inbound travel will be controlled, only overseas Filipino workers and returning Filipinos will be allowed. Biking and non-motorized transport are encouraged, and there will still be no inter-island travel.
Schools will still be closed in MECQ areas. Government work will still be skeleton onsite and work from home for majority of employees in MECQ, while alternative work arrangements are encouraged in GCQ areas.
Since public transport is still disallowed, frontline workers or those who will return to work in allowed industries under the MECQ will have to take the public shuttle for frontline workers, or companies will have to provide shuttle service.
Under MECQ, there are more sectors and industries that will be opened, mostly with 50 percent of employees allowed to work on-site. Previously disallowed sectors like malls and commercial centers for non-leisure services will now be allowed under MECQ.
With the easing of some quarantine restrictions and the opening of more industries, Secretary Roque underscored the importance of following the minimum health standards in accordance with the government’s National Action Plan on COVID-19.
“Habang wala pa pong bakuna, habang wala pang gamot sa COVID-19, magkakaroon po tayo ng new normal,” Roque stressed.