The escalation of the quarantine in Metro Manila to the entirety of Luzon being under enhanced community quarantine inevitably left some holes in its implementation. With the government failing to convince private employers to give leeway to their workers, some ended up caught between borders with little to no options for mobility as mass land transportation was halted as part of the quarantine measures.
(2/2) LOOK: Security checkpoint personnel at Marcos Highway, Marikina City implement strict body temperature scanning, credentials checking, and disinfection procedures on vehicles driven by persons with high body temperature on Tuesday, March 17. 📷 | GRIG MONTEGRANDE/PDI pic.twitter.com/lhdw4M63rS
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) March 17, 2020
Despite the Palace’s insistence that only vital business workers (i.e. banks, drugstores, grocery and health workers) will be allowed to move freely, some Filipinos with no choice but to go out and work for their daily wages soldier on, with some walking long distances to get from one point to the other.
LOOK: With the imposition of enhanced community quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus, few commuters wait for a ride along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Tuesday. (📸 Grig Montegrande, PDI) pic.twitter.com/6Av0ai1AaE
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) March 16, 2020
In Bulacan at the Caloocan-San Jose, Del Monte border, people ended up spending time behind barricades till sunrise after they’ve been barred entry come 8 p.m. Another concern arises from these checkpoints: these people are crammed shoulder to shoulder, disregarding social distancing not by choice but out of desperation.
In other parts of Metro Manila, LGUs are doing their part to improve mobility especially for those working on the frontlines.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto Tuesday said he would allow tricycle operations in their area given they only service those exempt from quarantine and that they observe passenger limit and social distancing.
We're using our vehicles but it's NOT enough. Our risk assessment shows that we cant ban tricycles at this point.
Health workers need to get to work. Some emergencies can only be reached by tryk.
For now, I am allowing tricycles to operate w/in Pasig. TORO will issue guidelines
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 17, 2020
“Health workers need to get to work. Some emergencies can only be reached by tryk[sic]. For now, I am allowing tricycles to operate w/in Pasig,” Sotto said.
Brgy. Kaunlaran in Quezon City, on the other hand, is offering free rides to residents of the barangay who are health workers.
— Teddy Casiño (@teddycasino) March 17, 2020
Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice President Leni Robredo starting tomorrow, will be offering free shuttle service for health workers and other frontliners.
[A] Starting tomorrow, the Office of VP Leni Robredo will provide free shuttle services for health workers and other frontliners. Routes, schedule, and other details to be announced later. #COVID19PH
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) March 17, 2020
Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Salvador Panel announced through the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Facebook page that the Executive branch has been alerted of the situation in checkpoints and have employed the military and assembled bus operators “to ferry those who are stranded, particularly health workers and other individuals exempted from the ban, so they can be safely brought to their places of work and their homes after work.”
These public services are good for health workers who are hard at work trying to flatten the curb. As of writing, there are over 140 confirmed cases, according to the Department of Health. But the frontliners’ efforts and hard work will be put to waste if we can’t address other sides of the quarantine, namely ensuring private companies promise wages despite work cancellations and making sure that the safety and welfare of those at the margins are prioritized along with the rest of the society.
Header photo courtesy of Grig Montegrande/Inquirer
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