What you need to know about transportation and movement during ECQ in August 2021

Here we go again
by Drei Laurel | Aug 5, 2021
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

Well, here we go again. Metro Manila and a handful of other areas are shifting back to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). This development comes following the official arrival of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the Philippines, so mask up and avoid leaving your home, guys. 

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of accomplishing all of their tasks and errands from the comfort of a home office. If you’re someone who needs to drive out during ECQ, below are 10 things you should keep in mind:

1) Metro Manila ECQ will be from August 6 to 20

Two weeks of ECQ for the National Capital Region (NCR). Keep in mind, though, that there’s always the chance this is extended depending on Metro Manila’s COVID-19 situation. Hopefully, we’re able to stick to this timeline.

Iloilo City, Cagayan De Oro City, and Gingoog City have also been placed under ECQ, albeit only until August 7. Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, and parts of Cebu province, meanwhile, will be under modified enhanced community quarantine until August 15. You can check out the quarantine classifications for other areas here.

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2) The number coding scheme remains suspended

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has already announced that the number coding scheme will remain suspended for the month of August. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise and, frankly, likely would have been the case whether or not the NCR was placed in ECQ.

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In July, the MMDA said implementing the number coding scheme while Metro Manila’s public transportation system continues operating at a limited capacity would only complicate things for commuters.

“If we implement the number coding scheme now, can our public transport accommodate passengers given the minimum health protocols such as social distancing needed to be implemented?” MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said.

3) Metro Manila’s curfew hours are from 8pm to 4am

If you absolutely have to be out during ECQ, be sure to be back at home by 8pm. While working authorized persons outside residence (APOR) are exempted from these curfew hours, consumer APORs are not.

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Yung tinatawag nating workforce APOR, as long as ang travel nila is work-related, wala pong problema. Kahit anong oras, wala silang curfew at saka pwede sila mag-cross,” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar said during a recent interview.

“Yung tinatawag nating consumer APOR, bibili ka lang during non-curfew kasi sarado naman ang mga tindahang pagbibilhan mo eh.

4) The truck ban will be suspended during ECQ

The MMDA will not be implementing Metro Manila’s truck ban from August 6 to 20. This comes in a bid to ensure essential goods are able to move freely through the nation’s capital during the ECQ period.

5) Individuals scheduled for vaccination are APORs

Yes, you can drive out during ECQ if you’re heading to a COVID-19 vaccination center to get jabbed. According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), all you need to do is show your vaccination card or a text message that proves you’re scheduled for a jab to authorities.

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6) Who else are considered APORs?

Besides healthcare personnel, APORs include government employees, PUV operators, individuals traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, bank employees, delivery personnel, telecommunications employees, utility workers, and consumer APORs out to avail of essential goods and services. Keep in mind that consumer APORs will not enjoy the same freedom of inter-city movement as workforce APORs.

You can check out a full list of APORs courtesy of the IATF here.

7) ‘Hatid-sundo’ of APORs allowed during ECQ, but...

Workforce APORs can ask a non-APOR to drop them off and pick them up from their workplace during ECQ, provided two requirements are fulfilled.

The first is a certificate of employment from the APOR’s company that includes the name of the designated non-APOR driver, make and plate number of the car being used, and the employer’s contact number. Requirement number two is a copy of the employer’s business permit, to prove it is permitted to operate during ECQ.

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8) LGUs will determine the fate of quarantine passes

Authorities are giving local government units (LGU) more freedom when it comes to the use of quarantine passes this time around.

Under the August 6 to 20 ECQ period, LGUs can decide for themselves whether to recognize old quarantine passes, issue new ones, or not require them at all. Pasig City, for example, has chosen to forego requiring quarantine passes during this latest ECQ period. Check with your LGU or barangay to see whether or not one is required when leaving your home.

9) Vaccinated commuters can ride rail lines for free

Good news for vaccinated APORs: The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has announced that commuters who’ve been jabbed can ride the MRT-3, LRT-2, and PNR for free until August 20. All you need to do is present your vaccination card at the station, and you’re good to board. This applies to those who have only received the first dose of the vaccine, too.

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10) What about public transportation?

The DOTr says public transportation within the NCR will continue to operate at its current capacity during ECQ. That said, strict social distancing will be enforced onboard rail lines. Buses and jeepneys, meanwhile, will only be allowed to carry up to 50% of their maximum capacity and must maintain a one-seat distance between occupants with no standing passengers allowed.

UV Express vans can accommodate up to two passengers per row and will also be limited to 50% capacity. Ride-hailing vehicles, taxis, and private cars are limited to two occupants per row, while motorcycle taxis may operate subject to National Task Force guidelines. Look:

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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