FAQs During the COVID-19 Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)
(Picazo Law, 28 March 2020)
An ECQ was effected for the entire Luzon from 15 March 2020 up to 13 April 2020 due to COVID-19. Please note that the information below is based on available data as of writing. This document is meant as a general guide but not meant to substitute for legal advice which may be particular to your type of concern.
1) What is “Enhanced Community Quarantine” or ECQ?
During ECQ, strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households; transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated; and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.
2) What do you do when you are stopped at a checkpoint?
For Covered Enterprises and Unrestricted Movement of All Cargoes
As per DTI Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-08, starting March 22, unless extended, an official IATF ID issued by DTI shall be presented at checkpoints by the skeletal workforce of covered enterprises (see Picazo law, FAQs for Employers and Employees in light of COVID-19 as of 26 March 2020). In the absence of IATF ID, workers must present his/her proof of employment and residency at checkpoints i.e., ID containing the company address/place of work and employee’s place of residence or certification of employment issued by the company which shall state the place of work.
Furthermore, it is emphasized that the movement of all cargoes in Luzon shall remain unhampered regardless of product. Upon presentation of the cargo manifest or the delivery receipt indicating the destination, nature, and quantity of the loaded goods, no truck passes shall be required. The movement of cargoes shall likewise not be delayed.
To report issues on cargo transport at checkpoints, the DTI Command Center may be contacted at 0956 091 6570 or the DTI COVID-19 response team via SMS or Viber at 0926 612 6728 / 0917 834 3330. For IATF ID applications, contact 0917 834 3330.
For private citizens
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas emphasized that the issuance of quarantine passes is not a national policy imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and that such a ticket shall only be used exclusively within the barangay. It cannot be used to go beyond the checkpoints established by the national government to enforce the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
In any event, a private citizen stopped at a checkpoint should be ready to present identification documents as well as proof of necessity of travel.
In case a private citizen is still refused passage, he/she may file an administrative complaint against any member of the PNP before the a) Chief of Police, b) Mayors of cities/municipalities, and c) People Law Enforcement Board. The PNP has also released the following COVID-19 Hotlines for assistance:
Joint Task Force CV SHIELD Command Center, PNP Command Center
The person illegally stopped at a checkpoint may also file a complaint under the Revised Penal Code, depending on the surrounding circumstances.
In the case of LGU officials, they may be held criminally liable under Sec. 6 (a) R.A. No. 11469 for disobeying government national policies or directives in imposing quarantines.
While you may file cases after you are stopped at a checkpoint for no cause, please remember that you should not disobey the order of a police officer or any person in authority.
3) Is traveling in violation of the lockdown rules a criminal offense? What is the penalty? Is this a bailable offense?
Violation of lockdown rules may constitute the crime of disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person under Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code if the violator seriously disobeys the order of a duly authorized peace officer to comply with the lockdown protocols. The penalty for such crime is arresto mayor (imprisonment from from one month and one day to six months) and a fine not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000). Under Philippine laws, such crime is a bailable offense. Please note, however, that if arrested, there would be constraints on getting an inquest and securing immediate release given the limited mobility of lawyers as well as availability of inquest prosecutors.
There may be other rules/ordinances that may be imposed by your local government units that are particular to your area of residence.
4) What are your options to get a document (or goods) be delivered from point A to point B?
Documents may be delivered using delivery services (e.g. Grab Express, Lalamove), which remain operational. Delivery services, whether in-house or outsourced, transporting food, medicine, or other basic necessities, shall be allowed to operate during the period of ECQ. The policy of unhampered flow of cargoes is a nationwide policy that must be strictly followed in all Local Government Units (“LGUs”) nationwide. [IATF-EID Resolution No. 13 dated 17 March 2020 and IATF-EID Resolution No. 14 dated 22 March 2020]
5) What are the urgent matters that a judge designated as officer of the day may hear during the lockdown period? Will lawyers, litigants and witnesses who will attend the hearing exempt from the travel ban?
Under the Supreme Court Administrative Circular 32-2020, litigants, lawyers, prosecutors and the general public are advised to first call the proper court through its hotline, or access it through its email address or Facebook account, if available, wherein it shall be determined if the matter being raised is urgent. If urgent, only then will the justice or judge on duty, together with the skeleton staff, go to court to receive and act on the said urgent matter.
Urgent matters such as the issuance of temporary restraining orders and extraordinary writs such as the writs of habeas corpus and amparo may be heard even during the lockdown period. In such cases, lawyers, litigants, and witnesses may be exempted provided that they bring proof of their business with the courts, i.e., copy summons, subpoena, etc., unless their travel endangers public health and safety.
6) Is going to a grocery or a drugstore or a bank or a doctor a valid excuse to travel from Quezon City to Makati?
Yes. For the purposes of acquiring basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production-- groceries, hospitals, and medical clinics-- transit to and from the mentioned establishments within the area covered by the ECQ shall be allowed. [Memorandum of the Executive Secretary dated 16 March 2020]
This general rule, however, may be limited by ordinances or issuances made by your local government unit.
7) Are employees of condominium buildings (such as building engineers, technicians, CCTV operators, etc.) exempt from the ECQ?
No, except for security guards. These condominium employees can continue rendering services only if they are already housed within the condominium building and they agree to continue working. Otherwise, they cannot go in and out of the building.
8) If a condominium allows the use of its pool and gym with social distancing guidelines, limits on number of users etc., is this allowable or is there potentially some legal liability or violation of a government mandate?
We are not aware of any law or mandate that may be breached. However, please note the following: (1) the ECQ rules/guidelines have not clarified how far a resident who lives in a condo unit can go, (2) certain condominium buildings have closed their gym and swimming pool, because these public areas are “magnets” for people to converge and the condominium corporations do not want to have any further problem controlling the people especially given their limited personnel in the building, and (3) there may be other potential health issues we are not yet aware of given that some aspects of this virus are still relatively unknown.
9) Are these rules applicable only in Luzon? Or are they likewise applicable in the Visayas and Mindanao?
While a State of Calamity was declared over the entire Philippines through Presidential Proclamation No. 929 s. 2020, the ECQ is only imposed over the island of Luzon. However, other areas in the Philippines such as Visayas and Mindanao are still bound to comply with protocols already issued by the relevant government agencies such as the DOLE, DOH, DTI, and the IATF. Moreover, other areas outside Luzon may also conduct lockdowns provided that these are coordinated with the DILG and DOH.
10) What are the rules for those who have been identified as Persons Under Monitoring (“PUM”) or Persons Under Investigation (“PUI”)?
One is considered a PUI if he/she has a travel history for the past 14 days or has a history of exposure (i.e., (a) contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19; (b) contact is involved with any of the following: providing direct care for COVID 19 patients, working with healthcare workers infected with COVID 19, working together in close proximity or sharing the same classroom environment with a COVID 19 patient, traveling together with a COVID 19 patient in any type of conveyance, living together with a COVID 19 patient within a 14-day period after the onset of symptoms); (c) worked in or attended a healthcare facility where confirmed or probable COVID 19 patients are being treated) and is exhibiting signs and symptoms such as fever of more than 38 degrees Celsius and other respiratory symptoms. PUIs must be immediately admitted to the designated COVID-19 isolation area while hospital staff, in proper protective equipment, will take swabs for testing. [DOH Department Circular No. 2020-0080]
PUMs are asymptomatic patients with appropriate exposure history and are advised to undergo monitored self-quarantine for 14 days.
11) Are there any liabilities that may be incurred by PUIs or PUMs who fail to disclose their status and/or violate quarantine procedures?
|Republic Act No. 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act) Section 9 (e)||Non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern||Fine of not less than Twenty thousand pesos (₱20,000.00) but not more than Fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than one (1) month but not more than six (6) months, or both|
|Republic Act No. 9271 (Quarantine Act of 2004) Section 8 (a)||Violation of ECQ regulations||Fine of not less than Ten thousand pesos (₱10,000.00) but not more than Fifty thousand pesos ₱50,000.00) or be imprisoned for not more than one (1) year or both|
|Revised Penal Code Article 365||Criminal Negligence||Depends on the harm done to exposed individuals|
|Revised Penal Code Article 151||Resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person.||Arresto Mayor (imprisonment of 1 month and one day to six months) and a fine not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000).|
12) Are there any limitations on the supplies that I may procure for my household?
Yes. DTI Memorandum Circular No. 20-07, or the Anti-Hoarding and Anti-Panic Buying policy, restricts the purchase of food and non-food items as follows:
|70% Solution antiseptic or disinfectant alcohol||2 pcs. regardless of volume|
|Hand sanitizer||2 pcs. regardless of size|
|Disinfecting liquids||2 pcs. regardless of size|
|Bath soaps||5 bars (if individually sold)
1 pack (if sold as a pack)
|Toilet paper||10 pcs (if sold per roll)
1 pack (if sold as a pack)
|Face mask||5 pcs N88 (surgical) any type or brand
5 pcs N95 (industrial) any type or brand
|Locally produced instant noodles (mami, pancit canton)||5 pcs. per type per brand|
|Locally produced canned sardines||5 cans per type per brand (regular size)
3 cans per type per brand (big size)
|Canned regular milk||5 cans per type per brand (small)
2 cans per type per brand (other than small)
|Powdered milk in sachet||2 bundles per brand|
|Instant coffee in sachet||2 bundles per brand|
|Mineral water||10 bottles any brand (small)
8 bottles any brand (medium)
5 bottles any brand (large)
2 bottles any brand (extra large)
|Loaf bread||4 packs any kind, any brand (half loaf)
2 packs any kind, any brand (whole loaf)
Please note also that engaging in hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices, product deceptions, and cartels, monopolies or other combinations in restraint of trade, or other pernicious practices affecting the supply, distribution and movement of essential goods is a punishable offense under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, the penalty for which is imprisonment of two (2) months or a fine ranging from Php10,000.00 to Php1,000,000.00, or both.
Hoarding is defined as the undue accumulation by a person or combination of persons of any basic commodity beyond his or their normal inventory levels or the unreasonable limitation or refusal to dispose of, sell or distribute the stocks of any basic necessity of prime commodity to the general public or the unjustified taking out of any basic necessity or prime commodity from the channels of reproduction, trade, commerce and industry.
There shall be prima facie evidence of hoarding when a person has stocks of any basic necessity or prime commodity fifty percent (50%) higher than his usual inventory and unreasonably limits, refuses or fails to sell the same to the general public at the time of discovery of the excess.
The determination of a person’s usual inventory shall be reckoned from the third month immediately preceding before the discovery of the stocks in case the person has been engaged in the business for at least three (3) months; otherwise, it shall be reckoned from the time he started his business1.
Profiteering is defined as the sale or offering for sale of any basic necessity or prime commodity at a price grossly in excess of its true worth.
13) If the ECQ is lifted by 14 April 2020 and businesses are allowed to operate again, can employers require their reporting employees to submit health declaration forms that disclose personal data such as, for example, whether they are experiencing one or more symptoms of COVID-19, whether they have been in close contact with persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 or PUIs/PUMs, etc.?
Yes. Employers may require their employees to provide such data in a health declaration form. However, employers should continue to adhere to applicable data privacy principles and ensure that the data provided are treated with utmost confidentiality.
We advise that in the health declaration form, the employer should already include a data privacy notice informing the employees of the purpose of the collection of the data, which is to contain the spread of the disease, protect the health and well-being of the employer and all the other employees, and ensure proper coordination and reporting to the Department of Health.
14) Can an employer report or disclose to a third party the data provided by its employees in the health declaration forms? Is employee consent required?
Yes, to the Department of Health.
While the National Privacy Commission is of the opinion that consent (to disclosure) is not required as long as the purpose of collection is made known to the employee in a privacy notice, we advise that in the health declaration form, apart from the privacy notice indicating the purpose of the data collection, the employer should already include a statement to the effect that the employee signing it is consenting to the disclosure of such data to the health authorities for the purpose specified.
Important: Picazo Law respects the personal data that you may provide to us and will keep the same secure and confidential. By providing such data, you consent to our collecting, using or otherwise processing that data for the purposes specified.
Important: Nothing in this website (and its tabs) is intended to be, or should be taken as, a legal opinion/advice. After our usual conflicts check, we can discuss an engagement of our legal services, and do a full evaluation of your concerns under the relevant circumstances. Thank you.
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