Legal Heads Up

Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine: Basic Do’s and Don’ts

Updated as of 05 May 2020

On 18 March 2020, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued the Luzon Enhanced Community Quarantine Basic Do’s and Don’ts Bulletin No. 1 directing mandatory home quarantine in Luzon from 17 March 2020 up to 15 May 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19 (as updated by Executive Order No. 112).

As a rule, everyone must stay at home. Physical classes at all levels are suspended. There will also be no reporting for work in government and the private sector except for some exemptions.

Who may go out of their homes?

  1. Only one person per household would be allowed to buy/access basic necessities.
  2. Employees of establishments involved in the production, processing and distribution of basic necessities such as food, pharmacies and drug stores, and banks or remittance centers.
  3. PNP, AFP, and other uniformed personnel.
  4. Personnel involved in health work, border control, emergency, and other mission-critical services.
  5. Media with authorization from PCOO.

[Note: On 29 April 2020, IATF approved the Omnibus Guidelines for the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines(Omnibus Guidelines), which shall be applied to all regions, provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays placed under community quarantine. Under the Omnibus Guidelines, the following are allowed to work or operate with a skeleton workforce unless a different operational capacity is provided:

  1. All agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including GOCCs and LGUs;
  2. Officials and employees of foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited by the DFA, whenever performing diplomatic functions and subject to guidelines issued by the DFA;
  3. Agriculture, fisheries, forestry;
  4. Private establishments and employees involved in the provision of essential goods and services such as public markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, laundry shops, food preparation establishments, water-refilling stations, hospitals, medical, dental and optometry clinics, pharmacies and drug stores;
  5. Manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products (at a maximum of 50% workforce unless the supply level warrants a higher capacity), manufacturers, suppliers of input, packaging and distribution medicine, vitamins, medical supplies, devices and equipment (at full capacity) and manufacturing of essential products such as soap and detergents, diapers, feminine hygiene products, toilet papers and wet wipes and disinfectants;
  6. Delivery services transporting food, medicine, clothing, accessories, hardware, housewares, school and office supplies, food and other veterinary products, and other essential goods;
  7. Banks, money transfer services, microfinance institutions, excluding pawnshops not performing money transfer, credit cooperatives, including their armored vehicle services, if any;
  8. Capital markets, BSP, SEC, PSE, PDEC, PSSC and PDTC;
  9. Power, energy, water, information technology and telecommunications supplies and facilities;
  10. Energy companies, electric power plant and line maintenance, and those involved in the exploration, operations, trading and delivery of coal, oil, crude or petroleum and by-products;
  11. Telecommunication companies, internet service providers, cable television providers, including employees of third-party contractors doing sales, installation, maintenance and repair works;
  12. BPOs and export-oriented business with work-from-home, on-site or near site accommodation or point-to-point shuttling arrangements;
  13. Airline and aircraft maintenance employees;
  14. Media establishments at a maximum operational capacity of 50%;
  15. Construction workers accredited by DPWH working on facilities for quarantine and isolation, emergency works and rehabilitation works;
  16. Manufacturing companies and suppliers of equipment or products necessary to perform construction works;
  17. Accredited workers by DOTr to work on utility relocation works;
  18. Employees of Philippine Postal Corporation at capacity necessary to maintain prompt delivery of services;
  19. Philippine Statistics Authority at a capacity necessary to COVID-19 activities and national ID system registration;
  20. Funeral and embalming services;
  21. Humanitarian assistance personnel from civil society organizations, NGOs and UN-Humanitarian Country teams;
  22. Pastors, priests or other religious ministers related to the conduct of necrological or funeral rites;
  23. Veterinary clinics; and
  24. Security personnel.

Those considered most vulnerable (60 years old and above, those with pre-existing medical condition like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, COPD, cancer and others, and pregnant women) should not go out. [Note: Under the Omnibus Guidelines, any person below 21 and those 60 years old and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the aforementioned, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices.]

Those allowed to go out of their homes must present the following at designated checkpoints:

  1. Identification card
  2. Proof of residence
  3. Delivery receipt for those transporting goods to and from the quarantine area
  4. Authorization or certifications, if applicable, issued by government offices.

What other establishments are open?

  1. All basic utilities such as water, electricity, internet and telecommunications should continue to operate.
  2. Critical services such as garbage collection, funeral and interment services, and gasoline stations should remain open.
  3. Capital Markets including but not limited to BSP, SEC, PSE, PDEx, PSSC, and PDTC.
  4. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO/IT) and export-oriented establishments as long as they are provided temporary housing/shelter by their companies. [Note: BPOs and their services providers are allowed to install necessary work-from-home equipment at any time during the duration of the ECQ. Export-oriented industries are likewise allowed to enhance their operations by deploying their workers under on-site or near-site accommodation arrangements, or by providing point-to-point shuttle services, subject to strict social distancing measures and routinary disinfection of facilities and vehicles. (IATF-MEID Resolution No. 22 Series of 2020 dated 08 April 2020)]

Casinos, gambling places and Philippine Offline Gaming Operators (POGOs) shall not be allowed to operate. Hotels shall not accept any new bookings. [Note: On 22 March 2020, IATF allowed hotels and similar establishments to accommodate distressed OFWS. (IATF-MEID Resolution No. 14 Series of 2020 dated 22 March 2020)

On 25 March 2020, IATF reiterated that stranded passengers, whether Filipino or foreign nationals, are allowed to book hotels and seek temporary accommodations. For hotel and other forms of accommodations, single occupancy of rooms shall only be required for health workers and repatriated OFWs. Double occupancy of rooms shall be allowed for other individuals not falling within the aforementioned individuals, subject to the guidelines of the DOH. (IATF-EID Resolution No. 15 Series of 2020 dated 25 March 2020)

Under the Omnibus Guidelines, hotels or other similar establishments accommodating the following are allowed to operate:

  1. For areas outside Luzon, guests who have existing booking accommodation for foreigners as on May 1, 2020;
  2. Guests who have existing long-term bookings;
  3. Distressed OFWs and stranded Filipinos or foreign nationals;
  4. Repatriated OFWs in compliance with approved quarantine protocols;
  5. Non-OFWs required to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine; and
  6. Health care workers and other employees from exempted establishments.

On 01 May 2020, PAGCOR allowed partial resumption of POGO operations up to a maximum of 30% of its workforce after fulfilling requirements such as BIR clearance and PAGCOR clearance. (Partial resumption of POGO ops allowed in GCQ, ECQ zones: Palace, 01 May 2020)]

Mass Public Transportation

  1. LGUs and employers should provide point-to-point transportation for people authorized to report for work, specifically health workers.
  2. DOTr or OWWA (for OFWs) may provide transportation from the airport.
  3. Walking or biking is allowed.

Public transportation such as tricycles, pedicabs, taxis/Grab, jeepneys, buses, LRT, MRT are not allowed to operate. [Note: Commissioned shuttle services for employees of permitted offices or establishments and point-to-point transport services provided by the government for healthcare workers including frontline and emergency personnel are allowed to operate. (Omnibus Guidelines for the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines)]

Flow of Goods

  1. Movement of cargo via air, land and sea shall be unhampered.
  2. Cargo trucks and vans should not be blocked from entering ports, expressways or highways.

[Note: On 22 March 2020, IATF announced that unhampered flow of all types of cargoes (food and non-food) and passage of personnel of business establishments permitted to operate during the ECQs must be strictly followed in all LGUs nationwide, subject to presentation of proof of employment and residence. (IATF-EID Resolution No. 14 Series of 2020 dated 22 March 2020)

On 01 April 2020, IATF enjoined LGUs and local health units not to issue orders that run counter to the directive allowing the unhampered movement of all cargoes, such as requiring asymptomatic drivers and crews of cargo or service delivery vehicles to undergo mandatory fourteen (14)-day home quarantine. (IATF-MEID Resolution No. 18 Series of 2020 dated 01 April 2020)

On 23 April 2020, IATF announced that the movement of cargo vehicles and vehicles used by public utility companies, BPOs and export-oriented establishments shall be unhampered even without enrolling in the RapidPass system. (IATF-MEID Resolution No. 28 Series of 2020 dated 23 April 2020)]

Employees in the Private Sector

  1. Employers should extend financial help or assistance to their employees and may grant pro-rated 13th month pay.
  2. DOLE and DSWD will provide social amelioration packages for those affected by the work stoppage.
  3. Unless company is engaged in basic necessities or services, employers should not require their employees to report for work.
  4. Employers should not terminate employees by reason only of not reporting for work because of the COVID-19 situation.

[Note: Companies are encouraged to process payrolls online. For those who cannot, payroll managers, and such other employees that may be required to process payrolls and print payrolls shall be allowed to travel and operate during the periods of ECQ. (Omnibus Guidelines for the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines)]

Employees in the Government Sector

  1. Employees in the executive branch should work from home except those rendering emergency frontline services.
  2. Those authorized to work should maintain only a skeletal force. [Note: All Courts nationwide, from the Supreme Court down to the first level courts, shall be physically closed to all court users and may be reached only through their respective hotlines, and email addresses and Facebook accounts, if available, effective 23 March 2020, Monday. (SC Administrative Circular 32-2020 dated 20 March 2020)]
  3. Travels, events and trainings are not allowed.

Travel in and out of the Philippines

  1. Filipinos abroad including their foreign spouse and children, and other permanent residents of the Philippines can return to the Philippines anytime.
  2. All returning Filipinos and permanent residents from China, Hong Kong and Macau shall be subject to 14-day quarantine in a quarantine facility.
  3. All other returning Filipinos and permanent residents arriving in Luzon shall comply with mandatory home quarantine.
  4. OFWs, balikbayans, and foreign nationals will be allowed to leave the Philippines at any time as long as their departure is 24 hours from the time they leave their homes or hotels. [Note: On 25 March 2020, IATF-EID allowed OFWs, permanent residents of foreign jurisdictions and stranded foreign nationals to leave the Philippines without any impediment. (IATF-EID Resolution No. 15 Series of 2020 dated 25 March 2020)]

Filipinos who will go out as tourists to any destination shall not be allowed to leave the country.

[Note: On 18 March 2020, Bureau of Immigration announced the lifting of the 72-hour travel period for departing OFWs, balikbayan and foreign nationals. Foreign nationals may leave anytime during the community quarantine period unless their flights have been cancelled by the airline or the CAB. Foreign nationals with history of travel from China, Hong Kong, Macau and North Gyeongsang including Daegu and Cheongdo of South Korea within the last 14 days are not allowed to enter the country. Passengers coming from Iran and Italy are required to present a medical certificate issued within the last 48 hours from arrival, stating that they are Covid-19 free. (Bureau of Immigration Press Release on 18 March 2020)

On 19 March 2020, DFA issued DFA Foreign Service Circular No. 29-2020 temporarily suspending visa issuance in all its Foreign Service Posts effective immediately. The temporary suspension of visa issuance will deem all previously issued visas canceled, and foreigners with visas issued by Philippine Foreign Service Posts (primarily 9a Temporary Visitor/Tourist visas) will not be allowed entry into the country starting 22 March 2020. All Visa-free Privileges are likewise temporarily suspended effective 22 March 2020. Foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals are exempted from this temporary suspension. (DFA Public Advisory dated 19 March 2020)

[Note: On 25 March 2020, IATF-EID granted outbound and repatriated OFWs and stranded foreign nationals free and unimpeded access to and from national government facilities such as airports, ferries, bus terminals, notwithstanding any LGU pronouncement to the contrary. Free access shall extend to the vehicles carrying said individuals in order for them to reach their final destination. No fee or any other requirement shall be imposed by LGUs in this regard. (IATF-MEID Resolution No. 15 Series of 2020 dated 25 March 2020)

0n 20 April 2020, IATF required all arriving OFWs, whether land-based or sea-based, to undergo a mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine and to rapid antibody testing for COVID-19 in accordance with the DOH Department Memorandum 2020-0180. Further, sea-based OFWs onboard cruise ships who have been issued with a Clean Bill of Health by the Bureau of Quarantine, upon presentation of certificate of completion of 14-day quarantine issued at the point of origin immediately before departure are required to undergo rapid antibody testing. (IATF-MEID Resolution No. 26 Series of 2020 dated 20 April 2020)

On 03 May 2020, the IATF announced the temporary suspension of usage of all Philippine international airports for inbound and outbound international passenger flights except for official, emergency, cargo ambulance and medical supply, weather mitigation, maintenance flights and international flights for stranded foreign nationals, effective 08:00 AM of 03 May 2020 until 11:59 PM of 08 May 2020. (DOTr Press Statement, 03 May 2020; IATF-MEID Resolution No. 32 dated 05 May 2020)]

Click here to read the Luzon Enhanced Community Quarantine Basic Do’s and Don’ts Bulletin No. 1. If you wish to know more about the conditions for exemptions, you may email us, and we shall respond as we work from home in observance of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

When in doubt, we advise you to stay home until the quarantine is lifted, for your and everyone’s safety.

Disclaimer: The information in this website is provided for general informational purposes only. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Platon Martinez or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances.