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HomeLocal NewsOf curfews, business closures, mass gatherings: Guidelines of MECQ under Bacolod E.O.

Of curfews, business closures, mass gatherings: Guidelines of MECQ under Bacolod E.O.

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has signed Executive Order 60 putting the city under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine effective 8 September, until 30 September 2020.

Earlier, the National InterAgency Task force has issued a resolution placing the city along with Lanao del Sur under MECQ. This, after CoViD-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez said he consulted with the mayor over the rising number of cases in the city, and how best to alleviate the situation.

Salient points of the MECQ are: “the indispensable need for a strict home quarantine in all households subject to limited exceptions”; the issuance of Home Quarantine Pass (HQP) for permission to go outside of the household to obtain or avail of essential goods and services needed; the limited permission for private transportation; the suspension of public transportation;

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the limited permission to conduct business/exercise of profession/engage in employment; the limited movements of people into and out of the City unless for essential purposes; the presence of uniformed personnel and civilian volunteers in strategic areas for safety and regulation especially at check-up points;

the calculated measures imposed upon the citizens for public health, safety, and welfare like the mandatory wearing of face masks, face shields, social distancing, frequent hand-washing; restrictions on leisure and recreation outside the home; the continued imposition of curfew hours; and the curtailment of activities that attract social and large gatherings.


The Home Quarantine Pass System will be implemented while the E.O. is in effect.

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The entry into and exit from the City of APORs during this period of MECQ shall be regulated under Section 7 of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines.

Section 7 provides the following: unhampered movement of all types of cargoes by land, air, or sea; workers in the logistics sector, such as cargo, trucking, courier delivery, and port operations shall likewise be allowed to transit across areas, provided that only a maximum of five(5)personnel may operate cargo and delivery vehicles by land, with or without load.

Exemptions are: health and emergency frontline services personnel; government officials and government frontline personnel; duly authorized humanitarian assistance actors (HAAs); persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons; persons going to the airport for travel abroad; returning or repatriated OFWs and other Overseas Filipinos (OFs) returning to their places of residence,

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other persons transported through the efforts of the national government upon observance of the necessary quarantine protocols and with the concurrence of the receiving LGUs, and; anyone crossing zones for work permitted in the zone of destination, and going back home.

Authorized shuttle services shall be allowed to travel within and across areas placed under any form of community quarantine, with priority given to persons rendering health and emergency frontline services.

Land, air or sea travel by uniformed personnel, government officials, and employees for official business with the corresponding travel authority, especially those transporting medical supplies and laboratory specimens related to COVID-19, and other relief and humanitarian assistance;

OFWs, students enrolled abroad and participants accepted in exchange visitor programs, permanent residents of foreign jurisdictions, and stranded foreign nationals, or those leaving for medical and other.

The departing passengers may be accompanied by not more than one (1) person when traveling to any international port, who shall be allowed to return to his/her point of origin.

OFWs whether land-based or sea-based shall be allowed to be deployed abroad upon the execution of a Declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved as advised by the Philippine Government.

Public transportation shall be suspended. However, commissioned shuttle services for employees of permitted offices or establishments, as well as point-to-point transport services provided by the government shall be allowed to operate, giving priority to healthcare workers.

With regard to private transportation such as company shuttles and personal vehicles utilized by persons authorized outside their residences, these are allowed subject to the guidelines provided by DOTr.

The use of bikes and other non-motorized transportation is strongly encouraged.


The following shall be allowed to operate at full operational capacity:

Public and private hospitals; health, emergency and frontline services, including those provided by dialysis centers, chemotherapy centers, and the like; manufacturers of medicines, medical supplies, devices and equipment, including suppliers of input, packaging, and distribution; industries involved in agriculture, forestry, and fishery and their workers, including farmers, Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), fisherfolk, and agri-fishery stores, and such other components of the food value chain;

delivery and courier services, whether in-house or outsourced, transporting food, medicine, or other essential goods, including clothing, accessories, hardware, housewares, school and office supplies, as well as pet food and other veterinary products.

media establishments, without need of PCOO accreditation; BPOs and export-oriented establishments, without need to set up onsite or near-site accommodation arrangements; e-commerce companies; other postal and courier services, as well as delivery services for articles or products not mentioned under Section 2 of these Omnibus Guidelines;

rental and leasing, other than real estate, such as vehicles and equipment for permitted sectors; employment activities that involve the recruitment and placement for permitted sectors; and housing services activities, such as but not limited to plumbing, roofing, and electrical works.

The following offices, establishments or individuals conducting or providing the following activities or services are allowed to operate at fifty percent (50%) operational capacity, while encouraging work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements, where applicable: Other manufacturing industries classified as beverages, including alcoholic drinks; electrical machinery; wood products and furniture; non-metallic products; textiles and clothing/wearing apparels; tobacco products; paper and paper products; rubber and plastic products; coke and refined petroleum products; other non-metallic mineral products; computers, electronic and optical products; electrical equipment; machinery and equipment; motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers; other transport equipment; and others;

other real estate activities; Administrative and office support such as, but not limited to, providing photocopying and billing services; other financial services such as, money exchange, insurance, reinsurance and non-compulsory pension funding;

legal and accounting services; management consultancy services or activities; architectural and engineering activities, including technical testing and analysis; science and technology, and research and development; recruitment and placement agencies for overseas employment; advertising and market research; computer programming and information management services;

publishing and printing services; film, music and television production; photography, fashion, and industrial, graphic and interior design; wholesale and retail trade of vehicles and their parts and components; repair and maintenance of vehicles as well as its parts or components, including car wash services;

malls and commercial centers, subject to the guidelines issued by the DTI; dining establishments and restaurants, but for delivery and take-out only; hardware stores; clothing and accessories; bookstore and school and office supplies; baby or infant care supplies; pet food and pet care supplies; information technology, communications and electronic equipment; flower, jewelry, novelty, antique and perfume shops; and toy stores, provided, that their playgrounds and amusement areas, if any, shall remain closed;

firearms and ammunition trading establishments, subject to strict regulation of the PNP-Firearms and Explosives Office; and pastors, priests, rabbi, imams, and other religious ministers insofar as providing home religious services to households, provided that proper protocols shall be observed, such as social distancing, wearing of face masks and the like.

Agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including GOCCs, as well as LGUs may operate with a skeleton workforce in combination with other alternative work arrangements as approved by the head of agency unless a different operational capacity is required in agencies providing health and emergency frontline services, border control, and other critical services.

Accredited diplomatic missions and international organizations shall be advised to operate under a skeleton workforce, without prejudice to alternative work arrangement as the said missions or organizations may deem proper.

Hotels or accommodation establishments shall not be allowed to operate, except those accommodating the following: guests who have existing long-term bookings; distressed OFWs and stranded Filipinos or foreign nationals; repatriated OFWs in compliance with approved quarantine protocols; non-OFWs who may be required to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine; and health care workers and other employees, whether private or public, from exempted establishments under these Omnibus Guidelines and applicable Memoranda from the Executive Secretary.

Hotel operations shall be limited to the provision of basic accommodation services to guests through an in-house skeleton workforce ancillary establishments within the premises, such as restaurants, cafés, bars, gyms, spas, and the like, shall not be allowed to operate or to provide room service; provided finally, that accommodation establishments may prepare: (a) packed meals for distribution to guests who opt for the same; and (b) food orders for take-out and delivery only.


The following businesses/activities are NOT ALLOWED to operate under MECQ: language, driving, dance/acting/voice schools; entertainment industries (e.g. traditional and drive-in cinemas, theaters, karaoke bars, etc.);

libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers; tourist destinations (e.g. water parks, beaches, resorts); travel agencies, tour operators, reservation service and related activities; full body massage; tattoo and body piercing; live events; holding of traditional cockfighting and operation of cockpits;

beerhouses and similar establishments whose primary business is serving of alcoholic drinks (e.g. nightclubs); kid amusement industries (e.g. playrooms, rides); non-essential public and private construction projects; barbershops and salons;

all other establishments offering personal care and aesthetic procedures and services; gyms/fitness studios and sports facilities; testing and tutorial centers; review centers; internet cafes; pet-grooming services.


Malls and commercial centers under MECQ shall be allowed to operate for non-leisure businesses only and on a fifty percent (50%) operational capacity.

Furthermore mall and shopping center operators are required to comply with the minimum health standards.

Those below 21, and those sixty (60) years old and above and those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the those mentioned may not enter malls and shopping centers except when obtaining essential goods and services or for work in establishments.


Until further advice, the three major public markets — the Central Market, Burgos North Market, and the Libertad South Market — shall be closed on Sundays for cleaning and sanitation in observance of health protocols and public safety.


Businesses in the essential goods and services sectors as well as those engaged in providing prime commodities such as supermarkets, public and private wet markets, grocery stores, agri-fishery supply stores, veterinary supply stores, pharmacies, drug stores and other retail establishments under similar business engagements are strongly encouraged to extend their daily store operations to a maximum of 12 hours convenient to both the customers and the proprietors.


The City Government of Bacolod shall continue to provide essential government services for the duration of the MECQ. Thus, work in certain offices of the City Government shall be in full operational capacity as considered under critical services.

All other departments and offices shall observe work-from-home scheme and shall be evaluated regularly. However, all officials and employees of the City Government shall be on call by the City Mayor as exigencies demand.

The following departments, offices, and ad hoc bodies shall operate in full capacity while observing the wearing of masks and social distancing measures: Office of the City Mayor; Office of the City Administrator; City Health Office; Department of Social Services & Development;

City Budget Office; City Accountant’s Office; City Treasurer’s Office; MITCS Office; Human Resource Management Services; Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office; City Legal Office; City Assessor’s Office; POSO Office; Public Information Office; Bids and Awards Committee; Bacolod Traffic Authority Office; Department of Public Services;

City Engineer’s Office; Barangay Offices; City Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19; Core Groups for Anti-COVID-19 Campaign; Action Teams for Anti-COVID-19 Campaign; Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Task Force under the auspices of the Office of the President/ National IATF through the command of Maj. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano.

The Office of the Vice Mayor may opt for full capacity work or to maintain its skeleton work measures necessary for the continuity of operations and efficient delivery of legislative services, with the observance of basic health protocols of social distancing and wearing of face masks at all times.

Departments not considered essential shall operate on a work-from-home arrangement, at the direction of their respective department heads. Personnel working under a work—from-home arrangement shall be required to maintain a daily time record of all tasks performed during the workday.

However, the Department/Office Heads, Assistant Department/Office Heads (ADOH), and those immediately next in rank from the ADOH of these other City Government departments shall report at all working days and to complete the required 40-hours work per week.

National Government Services (NGS)/Accredited Diplomatic Missions (ADM)/International Organizations (I0s). Offices/employees of the NGS/ADM/10s shall operate in Bacolod City according to their respective work guidelines/arrangements/schedules, independently from the work policy of the City Government but are advised to operate under a skeleton workforce or alternative work arrangements as they may deem proper.


Individual outdoor exercise such as outdoor walks, jogging, running or biking are allowed, provided, that the minimum health standards and precautions such as the wearing of masks and the maintenance of social distancing protocols are observed.


Face-to-face or in-person classes at all levels shall be suspended for the duration of the MECQ. Teachers who have to report at their schools to conduct on-line classes may do so as APORs.


Mass gatherings such as but not limited to, movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work gatherings shall be prohibited.

However, gatherings that are for the provision of critical government services and authorized humanitarian activities while adhering to the prescribed minimum health standards shall be allowed. Provided further, that religious gatherings shall be limited to not more than five (5) persons until otherwise modified through subsequent issuances of the IATF.


To allow workers and employees enough time to commute home after work without having to crowd public transport terminals and city streets to pick-up their rides home that would violate social distancing rules, the daily curfew to be observed by the general public in the duration of the MECQ shall be from 10:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M.

Exemptions shall be made for public emergencies like fire/ambulance services/other occasions caused by disaster/calamity; those requiring medical assistance on board ambulances/PUVs or private vehicles; those working the night shifts in essential private establishments; media practitioners; and those government officials and employees/frontliners, including those from the Philippine National Police (PNP), whose work may extend to within aforesaid curfew period by reason of the current state of public health emergency.

Those who want to be exempted from curfew should be able to present, upon request at check-up points or by PNP mobile patrol units, acceptable personal and/or company identification cards to prove that they belong to aforesaid groups under exemption. Curfew beyond September 30, 2020 shall be subject to evaluation and adjustment as circumstances may warrant.


The selling of liquor, wine, beer, or any alcoholic or intoxicating beverage shall be allowed from 12 noon to 6 P.M. only, subject to the strict observance of social distancing and other mandatory health protocols.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages, however, shall be allowed only within private residences. Drinking beyond the premises of the house, along alleys, and sidewalks, and in any public place, such restaurants, bars, convenience stores, and sari-sari stores is prohibited.

Sanctions for violations might include suspension, revocation of its business permit or license, and/or closure; or in the case of unlawful consumption, possible arrest and the filing of criminal charges for violation of Republic Act No. 11332 or any other applicable law or ordinance.


Check-up points shall now be maintained for the duration of the MECQ. Police visibility shall also be enhanced under the same public duty of enforcing health protocols, public security and safety, and the maintenance of peace and order in strategic areas it deems effective for law enforcement.

Localized lockdowns are still in effect in the event of positive detection of COVID-19 infection that may endanger the lives of the citizens in a specific barangay or locality or clusters of barangays or localities.

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Hannah A. Papasin
Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.
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