Aug 4, 2020

After President Rodrigo Duterte heeded the call from the medical community to reimpose stricter quarantine protocols, Metro Manila is now back to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) which will run from Aug. 4 to 18. The announcement came only the night before the last day of general community quarantine—leaving only one day for the public to prepare.

Today, Aug. 4, marks the first day of the reimposed MECQ. This means that only 50 percent of establishments can remain open and working from home is highly encouraged. However, MECQ’s biggest fallback is that public utility vehicles are no longer allowed to ply the roads—making it difficult for employees who are still required to report to their offices.

 

What’s allowed?

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Under MECQ, only private utility vehicles are allowed on the roads. This includes company shuttles (only at 50 percent capacity), personal vehicles (only a maximum of two people), bicycles, motorcycles and e-scooters. Biking and non-motorized transport is encouraged.

Pillion riding or back riding on motorcycles has been allowed this MECQ as long as the backrider is an essential worker even if they are not related to the driver. The motorcycle should be privately owned and not for hire. The driver must also be equipped with the necessary protective gear and the motorcycle must have a protective barrier.

Only limited international travel is allowed and is subject to how essential the travel is and if it meets the requirements of the airline. Controlled inbound traveling is reserved only for Overseas Filipino Workers and other returning Filipinos.

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Public shuttles are allowed, but only for healthcare workers and other frontliners. The Office of the Vice President is bringing back their free shuttle services that include eight routes encompassing the whole Metro Manila. Visit her website for the complete list of routes and destinations. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has also set up free shuttles for healthcare workers with a total of 20 routes that operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The DOTr has uploaded the map of all the routes here.

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What’s not allowed?

Public utility vehicles, including railways, buses, jeepneys, taxis, TNVs and tricycles, are not allowed. Domestic flights are not allowed, as well as inter-island travel. 

Just like before, the police checkpoints are also back along the borders of cities and towns under modified enhanced community quarantine. Quarantine passes are also needed for those traveling outside for essential business purposes.

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“Basically, kung dati ang checkpoints natin ay doon sa mga boundary ng regions at ng mga probinsya, ’yung mga apektado ng MECQ, pati boundary ng cities and municipalities dapat may mga checkpoints na rin tayo,” said Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has not yet released an updated list of this MECQ’s checkpoints. However, PNP Chief Archie Gamboa says that they will be establishing additional community checkpoints in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan.

 

 

Header photo courtesy of Grig C. Montegrande from Inquirer.net

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TAGS: Duterte mecq modified enhanced community quarantine office of the vice president quarantine protocols transportation