ECQ 3.0: What Can We Expect From This 3rd Lockdown?

ECQ 3.0: What Can We Expect From This 3rd Lockdown?

The looming threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has forced the government to announce another Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila from August 6 to 20. It’s worth noting this quarantine measure will be imposing the strictest level of lockdown ever seen in the Philippines. 

With another ECQ set to halt economic activity in Metro Manila, its inevitable impact on Filipino livelihood awaits. However, the government has announced relief measures the alleviate the potential problems faced by locals.

Another set of “ayuda”

At a press briefing on Monday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte already ordered the budget department to look for funds to finance a fresh round of financial assistance or “ayuda’. 

The cash aid reserved for this coming ECQ in Metro Manila is ₱13.1 billion and will be given to its 10.7 million residents.

How much and when can you get the cash aid (ayuda)?

The amount of the cash aid will be similar to the previous lockdown earlier this year (March and April). Qualified recipients will each receive ₱1,000 with a ₱4,000 limit per family. 

According to Roque, the government is aiming to release the cash aid to the respective Local Government Units (LGUs) before the start of the ECQ in NCR. From there, LGUs will arrange the distribution of the cash aid to their constituents. 

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also announced that the distribution of ayuda will begin on August 6. 

How will the cash aid or ayuda be distributed??

The DILG clarified that the ayuda will be distributed through manual payout, money remittance centers, and house-to-house distribution channels.

Source of funds

According to Roque the state will fund the cash aid from the “savings” of government agencies.  Earlier in May, President Duterte signed Administrative Order 41 directing agencies to identify savings from their respective 2020 budgets in 2020 and allocate them for cash assistance to poor families and displaced workers amid the pandemic.

These savings come from unspent funds from projects and/or programs of government agencies that are either completed at lesser cost or discontinued.

Curfew

NCR will be imposing an 8pm to 4am nightly curfew from August 6 to 20 in an attempt  to curb the spread of COVID-19. An exemption is granted to certain individuals as listed below.

Only the following individuals are exempted from the curfew:

  • Worker in essential industries.
  • Individuals obtaining essential supplies or seeking emergency assistance.

What are the essential industries?

These industries will remain fully operational despite the imposition of the ECQ. 

  • Hospitals
  • Restaurants
  • Logistic providers
  • Groceries, courier
  • Certain manufacturing firms
  • Business process outsourcing 

Who are allowed to leave the house?

Only residents aged 18-65 who hold a quarantine pass can leave their homes outside of the curfew.

Utility providers

To give leeway to households affected by the ECQ, utility providers of the National Capital Region (NCR) have also announced measures for the benefit of their customers.

The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco)

Meralco announced on Tuesday that it is suspending disconnection activities in the Province of Laguna from August 1 to 15 and NCR from August 6 to 20, 2021. 

Their business hours will be as follows:

Monday to Friday: 7am to 3pm

Saturday: 7am to 12nn (payments only)

Maynilad

It announced recently that it will temporarily close its branches as well as suspend water disconnection. However, meter reading and billing will still continue to facilitate the accurate billing of customers. 

Maynilad has also encouraged customers to visit their website for inquiries and keep up to date with their advisories. 

Banking hours

So far, only  a few banks have announced their adjusted business hours in Manila to accommodate customers during the ECQ period. 

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)

All branches will be open from 9am to 2pm

You can check their website for more updated information: 

https://www.bpi.com.ph/announcements/branch-schedule-ecq-2021

Metrobank

It said that all of its branches will be open from 9am to 3pm, but with exceptions to some branches which will only operate until 1 or 2pm.

You can check their website for more up to date information: 

https://metrobank.com.ph/articles/branch-schedule

Both banks have advised customers to check their websites for updates in the coming days. 

Mass transportation

Despite the announcement of ECQ, the  Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)  approved the DOTr’s bid to operate the public transport in full capacity for NCR from August 6 to 20. 

However, DOTr Secretary Tugade stressed that only Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) will be allowed to take the public transport services.

In addition, vaccinated APORs can take the mass public transport for free (MRT-3, LRT-2, at PNR), they only need to present their vaccination cards to avail the free service.

The upcoming ECQ is still on the way and expect more measures to be announced in the coming days. For now, let’s all do our part in curbing the virus. Stay home, wash your hands, avoid social gatherings, and stay healthy! We’ll get through this!

 

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