Whole Cebu in 'lockdown' by Monday

BY MONDAY, March 30, 2020, the whole of Cebu will be under a state of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

For residents of Cebu City, the ECQ will be at noon Saturday, March 28. At 12:01 a.m. Sunday, it will be Lapu-Lapu City's turn.

The cities of Mandaue, Talisay and the rest of the province will follow suit after the stroke of midnight Monday.

The purpose of the ECQ is to limit the number of people out on the streets.

After noon Saturday, all Cebu City residents cannot leave their homes except:

• One member of the household who will purchase basic necessities;

• Medical practitioners, officers, hospital staff, nurses and health volunteers who will render medical assistance and/or service;

• Emergency personnel;

• Authorized national and local government officials and employees;

• Drivers and personnel of delivery vehicles of all types of cargoes;

• Construction workers duly authorized by the City Government;

• Accredited media personnel;

• Farmers, fishermen and agri-business personnel;

• Persons who seek medical attention or who are already admitted on any medical facility, provided that only one companion shall be allowed;

• Employees of exempted establishments;

• And such other persons as may be authorized by the mayor.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies are directed to ensure compliance.

City Councilor Dave Tumulak, who heads the border line control task force, urged the public who live outside the city, to leave for their hometowns before the Saturday deadline.

Tumulak said the city's 14 borders will be strictly monitored to regulate entry of people.

According to the city official, the people allowed in are:

• Those who provide medical services;

• Emergency responders;

• Security service personnel;

• Employees of banks and money transfer services;

• Employees of supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, public markets;

• Employees of pharmacies and drug stores;

• Employees of food chains, restaurants and carenderia;

• People working in public utilities;

• Sanitation personnel;

• Delivery personnel of cargoes - with or without load;

• Employees working at manufacturing establishments engaged in the production and distribution of food, essential and hygiene products, medicines and vitamins, medical products such as personal protective equipment, masks, gloves and others;

• Logistics and warehouse establishment employees;

• Authorized officials and employees of business process outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and export-oriented industries;

• Heads of mission or their foreign mission representatives.

Other authorized persons allowed to enter and exit the city are officials and representatives of the national government; Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman; justices of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals; judges of the regional, metropolitan, city and municipal trial courts and prosecutors; provincial governor, vice governor, members of the Provincial Board, Provincial Capitol employees and officials; local government officials; media personalities, such other persons determined by the mayor or of his duly authorized representative.

In the implementation of the ECQ, no vehicle is allowed to enter or exit Cebu City, excluding:

• Vehicles carrying persons allowed to enter and exit the city;

• Vehicles carrying essential goods and basic commodities;

• Emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks and the like; vehicles of the AFP and the PNP);

• Vehicles determined by the mayor or his duly representative.

The City Government, though, will provide transportation for frontliners, health and medical workers, workers in exempted establishments in the city from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Government offices providing basic services will continue operating provided they adopt alternative work arrangements pursuant to Civil Service Commission memorandum.

Bona fide identification cards issued by their respective agencies shall be sufficient for movement around the contained area until such time that such accreditation orders shall have been issued by the agency concerned.

The restriction of land and sea travel exclude:

• Authorized government officials and employees, health and emergency workers;

• Law enforcement personnel, including the police, military and force multipliers;

• Individuals duly authorized to conduct humanitarian and relief operations;

• Persons working in the above mentioned exempted establishments;

• Media personnel with duly issued press/company identification card;

• Workers attending to installation, construction and/or repair of public utilities and/or road construction;

• Transiting outbound passengers, trucks and vehicles transporting all typed of cargoes;

• Delivery services, whether in-house or outsourced, transporting food, medicine, and other basic necessities;

• Vehicles authorized by the mayor or of his duly authorized representative.

Business establishments in Cebu City that will remain open during the whole duration of the ECQ are:

• Hospitals, medical clinics and laboratories;

• Pharmacies and drug stores;

• Gasoline stations;

• Cargo handlers, forwarders, shipping lines, truckers, container yards;

• Water, electricity, cable and telecommunications companies;

• Funeral parlors;

• Establishments manufacturing medical supplies and its materials an/or components;

• Establishments rendering delivery services, whether in-house or outsourced, transporting food, medicine and other basic necessities.

The following establishments will be allowed to operate but only up until 8 p.m.:

• Food establishments, provided that there shall be no dine-in customers and only take out orders or delivery services are allowed;

• Food manufacturers and suppliers;

• Public markets, supermarkets, groceries, bakeshops and convenience stores;

• Water refilling stations;

• Veterinary clinics and animal feed suppliers;

• Banks and money transfers;

• Hardware stores;

• Delivery and courier services;

• Dealers or suppliers of agricultural products, LPG and other petroleum products, medical supplies and veterinary supplies;

• Laundry services.

The management of exempted establishments and government offices should adopt strict skeletal workforce, implement social distancing measures and provide adequate transportation for their employees.

These establishments are also directed to conduct temperature check before allowing customers to enter their premises.

The management of the establishments should also require their employees to wear protective masks and proper equipment.

They are also encouraged to provide alcohol and/sanitizers and keep hand washing stations within their premises.

The employees should directly go home after their shift.

The mayor has also the right to authorize other establishments to operate as he may deem fit and necessary.

Hotels and other similar establishments are also not allowed to operate, except those accommodating guests who have existing booking accommodation as of March 26, provided no new booking should be accommodated; and guests who have existing long-term leases.

All BPO and KPO and export-oriented industries may remain operational, provided they implement business contingency measures.

All the borders in the city will be installed with personnel of the AFP, PNP, Cebu City Transportation Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the concerned barangay.

The said personnel will have to wear their respective uniform and ID.

The checkpoints will operate 24 hours.

The Business Permit and Licensing Office and the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement are also part of the implementing offices of the ECQ.

Barangay officials are also mandated to implement such order in coordination with law enforcement agencies.

Lapu-Lapu City sent a copy of Mayor Junard Chan's executive order (EO) on the ECQ with the guidelines. The EO has been posted on SunStar Cebu Facebook page: snstr.co/8zo.

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes has yet to release a copy of the guidelines on his EO on the ECQ.

Mandaue City Health Officer Dra. Rose Marie Ouano-Tirado identified three school buildings that will be used to shelter persons under monitoring that do not reside in Cebu. These are the Mandaue City Central School, Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School and Subangdaku Elementary School.

Tirado said the Mandaue City Hospital will only cater to Covid-19-related cases, including those identified with moderate symptoms such as individuals with influenza-like illness. However, it will still accommodate out-patients for consultation.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced that the whole province will be in a state of ECQ on Monday, March 30.

She said she and other local chief executives agreed on the date after a meeting Thursday afternoon, March 26.

She said this will allow the public to return to their hometowns and buy food and other essential goods. This will also give local government units (LGUs) time to distribute quarantine passes that will allow one member of each household to leave the house and go on supply runs.

Everyone living in the 44 towns and seven cities under the Provincial Government will not be allowed to leave their houses.

However, there are exceptions, including:

• Medical personnel;

• Emergency response teams;

• Security guards;

• Government officials and selected government employees;

• Media members;

• Airline crew;

• Farmers and fisherfolk;

• Drivers and delivery boys that bring in supplies and other essential goods.

All establishments will be closed to the public, except:

• Banks;

• Funeral parlors;

• Groceries, supermarkets and convenience stores;

• Food chains;

• Pharmacies;

• Telecommunications companies;

• Energy companies;

• Water companies;

• Airport and seaports

• Agricultural businesses

During this period, there will be no public transportation.

LGUs are directed to provide transportation to constituents who are involved in essential services. Establishments that will continue to operate will have to provide transportation to their employees.

The governor clarified that Cebu Province under a state of ECQ does not mean the government will provide all the people's needs, especially food.

She said the Province will prioritze those who need assistance the most.

“I told the mayors, 'let us reserve assistance for the poor and helpless.' Those who can afford should not be included,” Garcia said in Cebuano.

Garcia said each LGU will distribute one quarantine pass for every household. Those who are renting bed spacers or living in dormitories will be eligible.

However, Garcia said the quarantine pass can only be used within the jurisdiction of the issuing LGU.

She directed the public to report to her anyone charging for the pass since this is free of charge.

During the 24-hour curfew, drinking outside the house will not be allowed.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, March 26, five more Filipino men, mostly middle-aged, and two elderly women were listed as the latest mortalities from the coronavirus disease, bringing the death toll in the country to 45.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it also recorded 71 new confirmed cases, taking the total count to 707. Two more patients have recovered.

Only one of the seven mortalities had a travel history. The oldest was 87 years old, while the youngest was 46. Majority of them had a preexisting medical condition.

Meanwhile, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara and an unnamed congressman have tested positive for Covid-19.

Angara, in a statement Thursday, March 26, assured that he has not been in contact with the public since taking the test on March 16.

In a separate statement, Isabela Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano said he has gone into self-quarantine after learning that another colleague has the new coronavirus.

"We bravely went to work and two of our congressmen are now positive with Covid-19, two congressional staff have died, many more are PUIs and PUMs," Albano said.

At the Senate, Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Aquilino Pimentel III also tested positive for Covid-19.

The novel coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, has infected 414,179 persons worldwide as of March 25, 2020. A total of 18,440 persons had died. (JJL / KFD / MVI / ANV / PJB)