Several major cities impose curfews

TO PREVENT the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), a curfew will be enforced from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Metro Manila while the capital is placed under 30-day community quarantine from Sunday, March 15, 2020, to April 14.

The resolution on the curfew was signed by city mayors as one of the measures to prohibit mass social gatherings, the Metro Manila Development Authority said.

Local chief executives also agreed to recommend in their respective city councils the temporary closure of malls and shopping centers from Saturday, March 14 until April 14, except supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and delivery services of restaurants.

Metro Manila covers 16 cities— Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela—and the town of Pateros.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government said the curfew will not be implemented immediately. It will be carried out once the concerned local government units pass a corresponding ordinance.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that without an ordinance, curfew violators cannot be arrested or detained.

“#MartialLaw” was among the trending topics on Twitter Saturday afternoon over netizens’ speculations that the lockdown and curfew might turn into martial law.

A curfew was not part of the declaration of public health emergency, and it was not included in the memorandum containing guidelines on social distancing issued by Malacañang.

The Department of Health and members of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases also did not recommend imposing a curfew in Metro Manila.

On Thursday, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte said community quarantine was not about a “struggle of power.”

“For Manila, we do not want to use ‘lockdown’ because people are afraid of the word. There is no struggle of power here. There is no fighting here, no war. It’s just a matter of protecting and defending the public from Covid-19,” Duterte said in a mix of Tagalog and English.

Cebu City

In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella announced that a curfew would be in effect starting 10 p.m. Saturday, March 14.

According to the Facebook post of the Cebu City Public Information Office (PIO), City Ordinance 1786, or the Curfew Ordinance of the City, will be strictly implemented.

The ordinance prohibits minors from loitering or staying outside their houses from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the following day.

PIO head Razel Cuizon said the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and barangay officials have been instructed to implement the curfew.

Cuizon said the measure was made after the City suspended classes in all levels, both public and private, to make sure children stay in their respective houses.

“This is a way so the children will not loiter around after we declared the suspension of classes,” she said.

She also urged residents to bring identification cards in case they encounter checkpoints.

CCPO Officer-in-charge Col. Engelbert Soriano said the curfew will affect only those who are 17 years old and below.

He clarified that those of legal age or those who work at night are exempted from the curfew.

“The mayor has specific instructions to impose the curfew on minors. It’s not a general curfew. So starting at 10 p.m., we will intensify enforcement to make sure no minors are found loitering on the streets,” Soriano said in a mix of Tagalog and English.

Soriano directed all police station commanders to conduct roving operations to look out for minors.

He said they will forcibly take them home if the minors refuse to heed the curfew.

“If they resist, we will haul them inside the mobile patrol and bring them home since there is no DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) facility to house them,” he said in Tagalog.

Soriano urged the public to obey the curfew since it’s for their own good. He asked parents to see to it that their children stay at home to avoid getting infected with the Covid-19.

The curfew will be in place until the mayor lifts it, he said.

Mandaue City

The Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) has also advised minors to stay at home to protect them against the disease.

John Eddu Ibañez, Mayor Jonas Cortes’ executive secretary, said the City Government coordinated with the MCPO to conduct roving operations.

If police encounter minors on the streets, they will be asked to go home, he said.

“We didn’t suspend classes so students could be out and about but to ensure that they stayed at home to prevent the spread of infection,” Ibañez said.

In a separate interview, Nenita Layese, Mandaue City Legal Office chief, said the existing anti-loitering city ordinance that penalizes minors could be used to include those 18 years old and above as a preventive measure against Covid-19. / NJN / JJL / KFD / AYB / PJB