Baguio to enforce strict quarantine, curfew

Baguio to enforce strict quarantine, curfew

BAGUIO CITY – The city government here will enforce a more stringent community quarantine to align with the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that President Rodrigo Duterte enforced starting Monday night.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong declared a citywide community quarantine from March 13 until April 15 after signing Executive Order 065 due to the spike of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

In his latest directive, Magalong’s earlier curfew of 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. has been “superseded by the Luzon curfew which is now 24 hours.”

On Tuesday, Magalong signed EO 67, amending the earlier signed order.

The order will see the Baguio City Police Office “be more strict and checking the purpose of people out and about in our streets starting today, March 18, 2020.”

A second curfew is, however, given from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. which will be for workers who provide essential needs like convenience stores, groceries, hospitals, pharmacies, and drug stores, medical clinics, food preparation, and deliveries.

In signing the latest ECQ, Magalong directed that the BCPO “to intensify patrols to ensure that people are inside their homes except for those performing essential tasks as provided for in the ECQ provisions.”

The order also instructs that government offices should have a skeletal force and people to observe social distancing. It also indefinitely suspends public transport.

He, however, said a single jeepney in one barangay will be on standby to bring people to and from the barangay to buy basic necessities.

“We will allow only one member of the family to go out to go buy items from the market or medicines,” he said during the Ugnayan late afternoon on Tuesday, right after the meeting with the village chieftains.

Jeeps must have 50 percent of its total loading capacity, have a regular stand by place at the area for bringing people to market, and pick up point at the market and time, said Magalong.

“So everything will be coordinated for smooth operation and all should be serviced,” he added.

A special taxi service will be put on an on-call basis for emergency use like bringing people to hospitals for emergency health situations or for medical procedures including regular checkups for pregnant women, elderlies or those still under medical supervision.

Taxis are asked to get a permit from the city so that they can be included in the pool of transport service that can be contacted to provide “emergency service” to the residents who do not have private vehicles.

The market will only be open from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. to give way to the one-hour cleaning time. Buyers and sellers are mandated to use any kind of alternative to mask.

The local finance committee also said the city’s quick response fund (QRF) of PHP29 million could be now utilized to help purchase basic needs like alcohol, face masks and sanitizing agents.

During the special session of the city council, city budget officer Leticia Clemente told councilors that even the General Services Office (GSO) will be traveling to Manila to purchase the materials since most are out of stock in local pharmacies and groceries.

City accountant Antonio Tabin said the barangays will also have their access to their own QRF which they have saved in their own bank.

The Disaster Risk and Rescue Management team has also a PHP101-million fund to be used.

Clemente said all the vehicles issued to all the city’s departments will be pooled and for the disposal of the said emergency group for their use including bringing home city workers deployed as front liners in battling Covid 19.

“Only employees from essential offices like those from the health services office, the mayor’s office, the GSO will be reporting for work, while others could start working at home,” Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan said.

Magalong has also extended the suspension of classes for students until April 15 and told “students to stay home. It was the reason for the suspension of classes for you to stay home.”

The EO provides that private establishments shall be closed with only the essential establishments are allowed minimum operation hours.  Pigeon Lobien and Liza Agoot /PNA –