There is no need to go on a buying spree in preparation for the impending enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Palace said, as citizens posted online of long queues due to rumors early Saturday of a strict lockdown.
Based on the ECQ rules to be enforced in NCR Plus areas starting Monday, March 29, stores and establishments offering essential goods and services, such as groceries and pharmacies, will be allowed to remain open.
Those aged below 18 years old and over 65 years old will still not be allowed to go out.
"Mga kababayan wag pong magpanic. Hindi ito ang unang karanansan natin sa ECQ," said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque during Saturday's press briefing on the ECQ.
"Sa ECQ po bukas lahat ng supermarket, bukas ang palengke at convenience stores at sinisigurado ng DA (Department of Agriculture) at DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) na sapat ang bilihin sa lahat ng ating merkado. Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying."
Travel passes will not be required, according to the announcement, although Roque said old quarantine passes might still be useful when passing through check points.
"Ang travel pass, hindi kinakainalangan. Isang linggo lang ang ating ECQ... Kung meron kayong quarantine pass na naitago dalhin nyo na lang din po," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved placing areas in the NCR Plus bubble under ECQ due to the new surge in COVID-19 cases, supposedly driven by the local presence of coronavirus variants.