ecq in metro manila covid virus and frontliners

ECQ 2.0: What Are In Place This Time Around?

In a bid to cut down the surging daily COVID-19 cases, the government has placed Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus) back into an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 4, 2021; with a curfew from 6 pm to 5 am each day.  

With another strict lockdown in place affecting everyone’s livelihood, what are in place to help everyone cope? Here’s a quick breakdown of what we know so far.

1. Financial aid

In response to the reimplementation of enhanced community quarantine across NCQ Plus, the government will once again roll out financial aid to poor families trapped in the area. This aid is targeted for distribution in mid-April at the earliest. 

According to Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado on Monday, 22.9 million poor Filipinos in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna are set to get financial aid. The estimate was from the National Economic and Development Authority and it represents 80% of the low-income population in the area.

How much is the aid?

No specific amount of aid has been announced yet, however, the budget secretary confirmed that it will be lower than what was given in the first lockdown (between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 per household). Avisado also hinted that not all aid will be distributed in the form of cash.

When can you get it?

The government is aiming to fully release the financial aid to the respective Local Government Units (LGU) by mid-April. From there, LGUs will distribute the financial assistance to the identified poor households in their municipalities. While the LGUs may receive the funds by mid-April, this does not mean the beneficiaries will also get their aid on the said date. 

Should the ECQ be lifted after April 4, the financial assistance will continuously be distributed according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

2. No mandatory loan moratorium

Despite the reimposition of the ECQ in the NRC Plus bubble, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas announced that there will be no mandatory loan moratorium.

In a statement shared by BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, the mandatory 30-day grace period mandated by the Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act is not applicable to the reimposed ECQ in Manila as the law was only effective until June 1, 2020. Meanwhile, the second loan moratorium under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act also expired in December 31, 2020.

The BSP, however, released a statement encouraging BSP-supervised financial institutions to continue to provide relief measures to their clients by renewing, restructuring, or extending the terms of the loans, among others, based on their continuing assessment of their cash flows.

In the meantime, they reassured everyone that they will continue to closely monitor the impact of the pandemic on the financial industry to promptly address any emerging risk and to support a sustainable economic recovery.

3. Income tax return (ITR) filing 

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has released the Revenue Memorandum Circular 41-2021 which delays the deadline for income tax returns. Here is a breakdown of what it says:

  • The tax filing deadline of 2020 income tax return is moved to  April 30 2021.
  • The agency is allowing taxpayers to submit their ITRs anywhere outside the jurisdiction of the Revenue District Office they are registered.
  • Taxpayers can pay through their accredited banks.
  • No penalties for wrong venue filing as a form of relief from the impact of the pandemic. 

BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay also encouraged taxpayers to file their returns electronically or by using the eBIRForms and pay taxes online via their accredited channels. 

4. Staycations are canceled

Your hotel staycations will have to wait as the Department of Tourism announced that only accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) are allowed to stay open as quarantine facilities

The operation of staycation hotels will be temporarily suspended until April 4, 2021. Violators will face penalties, from fines to suspension or cancellation of their accreditation depending on the gravity of their offense.

5. Transportation 

The Department of Transport (DOTr) headed by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has launched a few programs to help both public transport operators and commuters during the week-long ECQ. 

Libreng sakay for essential workers and travelers

To help essential workers, travelers, and Authorized Persons Outside of their Residence (APOR) get to their destination in the midst of the lockdown, the Department of Transportation has prepared a fleet of Modern Public Utility Jeepneys (MPUJ) covering 44 routes within Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

These MPUJs will display a notice that says “LIBRENG SAKAY PARA SA MGA AUTHORIZED PERSONS OUTSIDE RESIDENCE” to be easily identified by commuters. 

For your information

The free public transport will operate from 4:00 am to 10:00 pm until April 4, 2021

Who are Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR)?

  1. Bank employees 
  2. Armored vehicle crew 
  3. Money transfer service employees 
  4. Grocery and convenience store employees 
  5. Public market vendors 
  6. Pharmacists and drug store employees 
  7. Restaurant staff and crew 
  8. Delivery personnel of cargo (two per vehicle) 
  9. Food and medical manufacturing  establishment employees 
  10. Telecommunications key officials and  employees 
  11. Cable and Internet provider employees 
  12. Water company key officials and  employees 
  13. Water delivery and refilling station crew 
  14. Power plant maintenance employees 
  15. Petroleum tanker drivers 
  16.  Gasoline attendants 
  17. Coal delivery services 
  18. Garbage collectors 
  19. Emergency responders (Bureau of Fire  Protection, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Department of  Social Welfare and Development, Barangay  Health Workers
  20. Emergency Response Teams, LGU officials 
  21. Philippine National Police personnel 
  22. Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel 
  23. Philippine Coast Guard personnel
  24. Bureau of Jail Management and Penology  personnel 
  25. National Bureau of Investigation personnel 
  26. Office for Transportation Security personnel 
  27. Bureau of Customs personnel 
  28. Bureau of Immigration personnel 
  29. Philippine Ports Authority personnel 
  30. MMDA personnel 
  31. Company security officers and security guards 
  32. Force multipliers (Barangay officials and tanods) 
  33. All Department of Health officials and staff 
  34. LGU health facility personnel 
  35. Philippine Red Cross vehicles and staff bearing logo and IDs 
  36. World Health Organization country and regional offices core staff 
  37. Doctors and their drivers 
  38. Hospital staff and employees (including janitorial services) 
  39. Medical professionals and other employees 
  40. Private caregivers 
  41. Funeral service employees and immediate family of deceased 
  42. Senators and congressmen with their CoS 
  43. Department secretaries, undersecretaries,  and assistant secretaries 
  44. Bureau directors 
  45. Ombudsman and deputy ombudsman 
  46. Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, and Sandigan Bayan justices
  47. Regional, Metropolitan, City, and  Municipal Trial Court judges and prosecutors 
  48. Governors 
  49. Media personalities including Presidential  Communications Operations Office and attached agencies (with ID cards issued by  PCOO)

MPUJ routes for APOR and frontline workers free transportation

  1. Novaliches – Malinta via Paso de Blas
  2. Bagumbayan Taguig – Pasig via San Joaquin
  3. Fort Bonifacio Gate 3 – Guadalupe, Market Market (ABC)
  4. Pandacan – L. Guinto
  5. Quezon Avenue – LRT 5th Avenue Station
  6. Cubao (Diamond) – Roces Super Palengke
  7. EDSA Buendia – Mandaluyong City Hall via Jupiter
  8. Divisoria – Gasak via H. Lopez
  9. Punta – Quiapo via Sta Mesa
  10. Boni Pinatubo – Stop & Shop
  11. Boni (Robinson’s Complex) – Kalentong/JRC
  12. Nichols – Vito Cruz
  13. Filinvest City Loop
  14. Alabang Town Center (ATC) – Ayala Alabang Village
  15. Vito Cruz Taft Avenue – PITX Loop
  16. Bagong Silang – SM Fairview
  17. Malanday – Divisoria via M. H. Del Pilar
  18. Eastwood, Libis – Capitol Commons
  19. Gasak – Recto via Dagat-dagatan
  20. PITX – Lawton
  21. Alabang – Zapote
  22. PITX – Nichols
  23. PITX – SM Southmall
  24. QMC Loop
  25. Cubao – Sta Lucia (Pasig)
  26. Rosario Junction – San Juan via Pinaglabanan, Ortigas
  27. Rodriguez – BFCT
  28. Blumentritt, Manila – Sta Quiteria, Caloocan
  29. Guadalupe, Makati – FTI, Taguig via JP Rizal Ext.
  30. Alabang, Muntinlupa – Buencamino, Muntinlupa
  31. Alabang, Muntinlupa – Tunasan
  32. Litex, Quezon City – Rodriguez, Rizal
  33. Palmera, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan – Novaliches, Quezon City
  34. Parang-Cubao (Cubao – Silangan, San Mateo, Rizal)
  35. Munoz – Quiapo
  36. Alabang – Calamba via SLEX
  37. Balingasa, Balintawak – Muzon, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan
  38. Diego Cera Avenue, Las Pinas – Merville
  39. Rodriguez (Sub-Urban) – SM North EDSA
  40. Muzon Central Terminal, SJDM – Novaliches, Quirino Hwy
  41. Baclaran – NAIA/Baltao
  42. SSS Village – Cubao via Aurora
  43. Malanday – Sta Cruz. via Huertas Oroqueta
  44. Malanday – Pier South via McArthur Highway

Service Contracting Program

A program launched by the government under the Republic Act No. 11494 or Bayanihan to Recover as One Act to help Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers during the time of the pandemic. This program also aims to improve the quality of public transportation for the commuting public, ensuring the safety of the vehicles. 

How does this work?

The PUV operators and drivers who are registered under this program will be providing free transportation to all frontline workers. In return, they will be paid by the government. 

How to apply

The LTFRB is continuously looking for more PUV operators and drivers to sign up for this program. If you’re interested or anyone you know who is a PUV driver wants to have a stable income during this lockdown period, go to to register. 

MRT-3 halts operation until April 4 

The DOTr has taken this opportunity to conduct extensive maintenance activities. Should any commuters wish to travel to any destination covered by the MRT-3, they are encouraged to take the EDSA Carousel System or take the free MPUJs for APORs and frontliners.  


Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


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