Metro Manila quarantine: Troops at borders, social distancing of 1-meter radius when out in public


Posted at Mar 14 2020 12:05 PM | Updated as of Mar 14 2020 12:34 PM

MANILA - The month-long community quarantine of Metro Manila will see the deployment of state troops at border points “to enforce quarantine procedures,” as government seeks to restrict public interactions within the region of 12.8 million people, where most of the country’s cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been recorded. 

In “stringent social distancing guidelines” Malacañang released Saturday, government said the movement of people “shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work," while "uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points. 

This followed President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement Thursday night that the capital region would be placed under community quarantine from Sunday, March 15, to Tuesday, April 14 to contain the spread of the virus. 

The March 13 memorandum by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea was released to clarify parameters of quarantine guidelines crafted by the interagency task force on the COVID-19 response, which has drawn questions from the public. 

The following are the vital points: 


  •  Mass gatherings such as movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, entertainment activities, community assemblies and non-essential work-related gatherings are prohibited. 
  • "Essential work-related meetings and religious activities may continue" but those attending must strictly observe a distance of a 1-meter radius around them. 



  • The "non-essential entry" of people in the contained area, including the elderly (60 and above) who are at high risk of infection, those immunocompromised, and pregnant women, is prohibited. 
  •  The only ones allowed to enter the capital region are 
    •  Health workers
    •  Authorized government officials
    •  Those travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons
    •  Persons transiting to airports for travel abroad
    •  Persons providing basic services and public utilities
    •  Workers on skeletal deployment 


  • - "Non-essential exit of people" from the contained area is prohibited, except for the following: 
    •  Health workers
    •  Authorized government officials
    •  Those travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons
    •  Those earlier granted entry based on the above-mentioned provisions, but they are required do the following: 
  1.   Be checked for COVID-19 signs or symptoms at checkpoints and issued certification by the  competent health authority (DOH or Provincial/City/Municipal Health Officer) on site
  2.   Be endorsed by health authority to local government where they are set to go next
  3.  Undergo 14-day home based quarantine after leaving Metro Manila, under LGU monitoring


  • Those who report for work in Metro Manila, whether employed or self-employed, "will be provisionally allowed to travel" but need to present "proof of employment and/or business" such as company IDs at border checkpoints.
  •  Alternative work arrangements (work from home, compressed work week, staggered work hours, skeletal force deployment) will be implemented at the executive branch and encouraged in the legislature and judiciary. 
  • All police officers, soldiers, health and emergency frontline workers will remain in full operation
  • Suspension of classes and activities in all Metro Manila schools will continue until April 14. 


  • Amid suspension of all land, domestic sea and air travel, international flights will continue, as departing passengers will be allowed transit through Metro Manila, where the country's main airport is located. 
  • Travelers must present "proof of confirmed international travel itinerary, scheduled within (12) hours from entry" at checkpoints. 
  • Outbound travel to countries where travel restrictions are in place remains prohibited, including China and its territories Hong Kong and Macau, and South Korea's North Gyeongsang Province (including Daegu City and Cheongdo County). 
  • Travelers coming from Iran and Italy (except Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouse and children) shall be required to present proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19 from competent medical authorities within 48 hours from departure. 
  • The Department of Health may exempt on humanitarian considerations travelers going out of the country and are going to places where travel restrictions are currently in place.
  • Movement of cargo will continue, regardless of origin or destination. 

The following measures will be reviewed regularly "in order to ensure that the virus would be contained and ultimately eliminated without extremely overwhelming the citizens in going about their daily lives," Malacañang said. 


The memo further said that depending on the situation, the DOH and the Department of the Interior and Local Government may order a local government unit to intensify the community quarantine. 

Under an "enhanced community quarantine," "strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households, transportation shall be suspended, provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated, and the presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures shall be heightened." 
The Philippines has recorded 64 cases of the new coronavirus strain, mostly in Metro Manila. Among them, 6 have died. 

Globally, the virus has infected more than 132,000 and killed nearly 5,000 in 122 countries and territories, latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.