Palace: With economy open, NCR Plus bubble not under lockdown

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2021 04:50 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2021 05:16 PM

Palace: With economy open, NCR Plus bubble not under lockdown 1
A police officer questions a mother and her child before they are allowed to pass through as commuters and motorists queue at a checkpoint at the border of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan and Caloocan City at the Alat San Jose Bridge on March 22, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday denied that Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces are under "lockdown," after a former official said government was avoiding using this term and admit "incompetence" in handling the COVID-19 crisis as infections surged.

Additional restrictions to stop a surge in COVID-19 infections are in place until April 4 in Metro Manila, home to 12 million people, and the Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces—which government collectively calls the NCR Plus "bubble."

"The so-called 'bubble' is in reality a lockdown," former vice president Jejomar Binay said on Monday. "But gov’t won’t call it a lockdown because it will be an admission of their failure, neglect, and incompetence. Stop blaming the people." 

To this, Presidential spokesperson responded: "Hindi po, bukas po ang ekonomiya."

(No, the economy is open.)

Metro Manila and the four provinces are under general community quarantine.

In a lockdown, the economy is closed and everyone is ordered to stay home. This is what happened during last year's enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ, the 2 strictest of 4 lockdown levels, Roque said. 

Given government estimates on the cost and benefit of a return to ECQ, "wala pong lockdown," he told reporters in a televised briefing. 

NCR Plus is under "a limitation on mobility," he added. 
 
Travel will remain unimpeded within the bubble area but only individuals 18-65 years old are allowed outdoors.

Travel to and from the bubble area is limited to health and emergency frontline services personnel, government officials and government frontline personnel, persons traveling for medical and humanitarian reasons and those going to the airport to travel abroad.

Other restrictions currently in effect include night curfews and the prohibition of mass gatherings. 

Restaurants will remain open but only for delivery, take-out, and outdoor dining services.

— With a report from Reuters 

Video courtesy of PTV