Manila City approves 8 pm to 5 am curfew


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Manila City Council passed on Saturday evening, March 14, a city ordinance banning people from leaving their homes from 8 pm to 5 am, after Metro Manila mayors urged for the drastic measure to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno signed the ordinance the same night and sent it to the media for publication on Sunday afternoon, March 15.

The curfew hours would last, the ordinance said, as long as Metro Manila is under lockdown, or what the government calls a "community quarantine," which includes the ban of land, domestic land, and domestic sea travel to and from the capital region.

When will it happen? The ordinance said that it will take effect "immediately," but Manila Councilor Joel Chua, one of the principal authors of the ordinance, said that it will take effect on Thursday, March 19. He said they wanted to wait 3 days after publication before it could be enforced.

The ordinance was hastily passed by the council, presided by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, who urged councilors throughout the session that the measure was needed to prevent the same crippling crisis that has hit parts of China and Italy.

Who does it cover? Generally, everyone is banned from leaving their homes unless they are out to buy essentials like medicine and food, or seeking medical attention.

People in "work-related travels" would also be exempted from the curfew.

Who will implement it? The ordinance authorizes barangay tanods and officials to implement the ordinance.

It will also be enforced by the Manila Police District, as it will turn into a local law once signed.

How should it be done? The ordinance said the enforcer should accompany the curfew offender to his or her home. If they resist being accompanied, the ordinance said barangay officials should ask for the help of the police.

Homeless people will be referred to the Manila Department of Social Welfare within 24 hours of apprehension.

The penalty: People found outside their homes wihout a recognized reason would be fined up to P5,000 at the discretion of the court and/or imprisonment of not more than one month. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.