Amid lockdown exodus, official tells workers from provinces to stay in Metro Manila as ‘coping mechanism’

A bus station in Cubao, Quezon City. <i data-lazy-src=

As Metro Manila residents flee the city ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s monthlong lockdown set to go into effect on Sunday, a government official is calling for city workers who reside in nearby provinces to avoid the hassle of entering the city via planned checkpoints, and just, y’know, live in Manila for the time being.

Despite the entire city being put into so-called “community quarantine,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said previously that people from nearby cities and provinces who work in Metro Manila can still enter the city, provided that they go through designated checkpoints and show their company ID as proof they’re working in the city. Their temperatures will also be checked on entry.

“The workers can rent [a place in Metro Manila] for the meantime in order to lessen the movement of people. In that way, the flow of people to and from Metro Manila would also be limited,” Department of Trade and Industry  Secretary Ramon Lopez said told media today, the Philippine Star reports.

He added that many workers living outside Metro Manila might find going through checkpoints every day tedious. (If you ask us, having to rent a second place for a month is pretty tedious, but hey, what do we know.)

“Another coping mechanism we find feasible, I’m sure that there are some companies [who] will just encourage their people, their employees, to find a place temporarily here in Metro Manila,” Lopez said.

Rappler also quoted Lopez saying that street vendors who sell water, candies, and cigarettes should just, well, do it somewhere else.

“Generally speaking, for informal sector workers, if they are the seller, it’s better if they do business in other places in the meantime, and not in Metro Manila. They are usually not registered. Technically, they can do business anywhere,” the trade secretary said.

“We encourage them to either register or just do business where they are from and not enter Metro Manila. Because the general principle… is to minimize the movement,” he added.

Despite the lockdown, Lopez told GMA News that the movement of goods to and from Metro Manila will not be affected by the quarantine.

“Cargoes, food and non-food [are] okay to move,” he said in a text message.

ABS-CBN News reports that people are fleeing Metro Manila for their home provinces ahead of Sunday’s lockdown. One bank employee said because of the announcement, her company had asked its employees to return home for the time being.

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