MANILA (UPDATE) - The curfew in Metro Manila is likely to begin Monday, a day after the capital region goes under community quarantine to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Saturday.
This as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) clarified that the curfew it earlier announced would not be immediately enforced, as local government units need to first pass local ordinances to implement it in their respective jurisdictions.
"Curfew dahil sa lockdown, maaaring magsimula sa Lunes. May mga exempted sa curfew katulad ng mga nagta-trabaho at ilang miyembro ng media," Año said in an interview on dzMM radio.
(The curfew because of the lockdown might start on Monday. There are exemptions like those who go to work and some members of the media.)
"May exemptions naman dito kaya walang ipagalala ang ating mga kababayan. 'Yung mga nagtatrabaho at 'yung mga uuwi na dahil na-traffic, exempted 'yan. 'Yung mga kailangan humingi ng medical help... for emergency reasons, exempted din 'yan," he said.
(There are exemptions here so people shouldn't worry. Those coming from work and encountered traffic on the way home, they're exempt. Those who need medical help... for emergency reasons, they're exempt.)
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said local government units "can impose curfew within their territories if an ordinance is passed imposing it."
"In the meantime, the Metro Manila Mayors’ recommendation to impose a curfew in Metro Manila is subject to the approval of the President. The President has yet to consider it," he added.
MMDA general manager Jose Arturo Santillan Garcia Jr. had said in a press conference earlier Saturday that a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily will be implemented in Metro Manila.
This as the region undergoes quarantine from Sunday, March 15, to Tuesday, April 14, as government aims to prevent further spread of the virus.
Metro Manila mayors earlier passed a resolution to impose a curfew in their localities.
The community quarantine seeks to limit the movement of people in and out of the region of some 12.8 million people, with mass gatherings suspended from movie screenings to sporting events, work-from-home arrangements encouraged save for frontline workers, and the public urged to strictly observe social distancing when out in public.
A total of 98 COVID-19 patients have been confirmed as of Saturday, with 8 deaths.
The Department of Tourism, meanwhile, called on local governments in the metro to clear curfew guidelines.
"We urge the LGUs to possibly consider that establishments, such as, but not limited to restaurants, hotels, groceries, convenience stores and drugstores, which operate longer than the recommended curfew period, be allowed to operate on a limited scale, as this is to the public's interest," the DOT said in a statement.
"These establishments must be given sufficient lead time to prepare their personnel as well," it said.