Last 15th of May, the government released and approved the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines. This document highlights the updated definition and rules for civilians and businesses under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), General Community Quarantine (GCQ), and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). It also outlines other essential information, like travel restrictions and such, which will be helpful in moving forward.
Some important definitions to keep in mind are:
1. Enhanced Community Quarantine refers to the strict implementation of residential quarantine. This includes heightened enforcement of quarantine protocols by uniformed personnel and the tightened regulation of operating industries.
Civilian movement and general transportation are extremely limited.
Note: Areas under the ECQ as of May 19, 2020 are Cebu City and Mandaue City (ECQ until May 30, 2020).
2. Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine is the transition phase between the ECQ and GCQ, wherein temporary measures are relaxed. Industries, establishments, and offices are allowed to work at the same operational capacity and under the same conditions provided in areas under the ECQ.
BPO and export-oriented establishments
Mining and quarrying
Vehicle and equipment rental/leasing
Household repair services
Postal and courier services
Employment and recruitment activities
Public transportation is still not permitted under the MECQ, though private vehicles are allowed, provided that it will only house two passengers. On the other hand, motorists and other two-wheeled vehicles are prohibited from having back riders.
Note: Areas under MECQ as of May 19, 2020 are Bataan, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City.
3. General Community Quarantine is similar to the ECQ, only slightly more relaxed in terms of movement limitation. Leisure trips and recreational activities are still prohibited.
Note: All unmentioned PH areas are under the GCQ.
4. Modified General Community Quarantine refers to the transition phase between the GCQ and the new normal. Movement is less-restricted and the enforcement of community quarantine protocols becomes less necessary. People are free to leave their homes and engage in outdoor activities, as well as public gathering events like movies, concerts, and road trips. In other words, it’s like going back to the old normal, but with the COVID-19 health precautions still in place.
All modes of transportation are allowed under the MGCQ, though flights are limited to local areas only.
5. New Normal refers to new behaviors and standards that will be institutionalized in common or routine practices. This is expected to become second nature to the general public so long as the pandemic is still widespread.
You can read and download the complete omnibus guidelines here.
For many of us, the commute is half the battle. It is best if we keep our heads high and remind ourselves constantly that keeping ourselves virus-free is for the good of the community and the country.