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Metro Manila will be Under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from May 16 to May 31 

by SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan Bulletin

Published: May, 2020

Submission: May, 2020


This is a briefing on the issuances of the Philippine government as of May 13, 2020 about the imposition of a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) over Metro Manila and other high-risk areas in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. [1]
During MECQ, more businesses are allowed to operate with 50% of their employees on-site, but since public transportation is still restricted, “frontline workers or those who will return to work in allowed industries under the MECQ will have to take the public shuttle for frontline workers, or companies will have to provide shuttle service." [2] The list of businesses allowed to operate during MECQ is in Part D below.
Government offices will still operate with a skeleton workforce, same as during enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Each agency may adopt its own alternative work arrangements based on those set out in Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 10, series of 2020 (Revised Interim Guidelines for Alternative Work Arrangements and Support Mechanisms for Workers in the Government During the Period of State of National Emergency Due to COVID-19 Pandemic) dated May 7, 2020. [3]
A.  Areas under MECQ
Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) Resolution No. 35 dated May 11, 2020 [4] places high-risk local government units (LGUs) (i.e., entire Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City) under MECQ from May 16 until May 31, 2020 “without prejudice to the declaration of localized Enhanced Community Quarantine in critical areas.”
Moderate-risk LGUs “shall be placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ)” and low-risk LGUs “shall no longer be under community quarantine.” For a full list of LGUs covered by ECQ, MECQ and GCQ, please click here
Please note that it has been reported that the Philippine government will amend IATF Resolution No. 35 to indicate that “areas with low risk of coronavirus infection will be placed under “modified general community quarantine” (MGCQ) instead of being totally removed from the lockdown rule starting May 16, 2020." [5]
Part C below contains a comparison of MECQ to ECQ and to GCQ.
B. MECQ Guidelines
On May 13, 2020, during a press briefing, the Presidential Spokesperson presented guidelines for allowable activities and the list of businesses and industries that may operate in areas placed under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ. A copy of the guidelines has yet to be posted by the IATF. However, the guidelines have been reported in the press, and one of the news reports can be accessed at https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/05/13/public-transport-salons-still-not-allowed-under-mecq/.
The IATF requires strict compliance with minimum safety standards and protocols (e.g., wearing of face masks, frequent sanitation and handwashing, and implementation of safe distancing measures) in all areas of the country regardless of the kind of community quarantine imposed.
Aside from providing means of transportation to their employees, private companies that are allowed to operate also have to conduct “antibody testing and confirmatory [polymerase chain reaction].” These are part of return-to-work protocols under the MECQ guidelines.

Please click here to read the entire bulletin



[1] NOTE: Metro Manila and other high-risk areas are under Enhanced Community Quarantine until May 15. Please see our bulletin on this dated April 26, 2020 at https://us5.campaign-archive.com/?u=7487080697dfcf9da2744850e&id=b7dd64146b.
[2] Palace Releases MECQ Details, Presidential Communications Operations Office;  https://pcoo.gov.ph/news_releases/palace-releases-mecq-details/last visited at 10:14 PM on May 13, 2020.
[3] CSC Memorandum Circular No. 10, series of 2020 dated May 7, 2020; http://www.csc.gov.ph/phocadownload/MC2020/MC%20No.%2010,%20s.%202020.pdflast visited at 9:33 PM on May 13, 2020.
[4] Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 35 dated May 11, 2020; https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2020/05may/20200511-IATF-RESOLUTION-NO-35.pdflast visited at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2020.
[5] COVID-19 task force backtracks, places low-risk areas under modified CGQ, CNN Philippines; https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/5/13/MGCQ-Modified-general-community-quarantine-areas.htmllast visited at 10:44 PM on May 13, 2020.

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