Philippines: Quarantine rules still in effect even sans Bayanihan law

As of June 27, 2020, the Philippines has recorded 34,803 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 9,430 recoveries and 1,236 deaths.

MANILA – The nationwide quarantine protocols to stop the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) remain in effect even after Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” has expired, Malacañang said on Saturday.

In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the expiration of RA 11469 should not hinder the government to continue enforcing strict protocols such as curfews and prohibition of mass gatherings.

“Although the law has lapsed, it is not accurate to state that the government can no longer enforce curfews or any prohibitions on mass gatherings. As we previously articulated, local ordinances that remain in effect may still be enforced,” he said.

DSA BUSWAY. The Department of Transportation starts implementing the Edsa Busway concept which transferred the dedicated bus lanes from the outermost to innermost lanes. Photo shows a bus travels along the busway near the Edsa-Kamuning flyover in Quezon City on Tuesday (June 23, 2020). (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)  

Roque made the remarks as he took note of the recent comments of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on the effect of the sunset clause in RA 11469.

Drilon earlier said quarantine violators can no longer be arrested, once the Bayanihan law expires.

Under RA 11469, those who commit violations amid the community quarantine will face a two-month jail sentence or a fine ranging from PHP10,000 to PHP1 million, or both.

The validity of Bayanihan law, which grants Duterte temporary special powers to address the Covid-19 pandemic, ended on June 25.

Malacañang has repeatedly called on Congress to extend Duterte’s emergency powers.

Lawmakers, however, adjourned their session sine die on June 6 without passing a new measure extending Duterte’s special powers for another three months.

Roque said while the Bayanihan Act may have lapsed, this will not prevent the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte from addressing the threat of Covid-19.

“The President continues to exercise all and every means at his disposal to protect public safety and the lives of our citizenry in the state of public health emergency and the state of calamity which unquestionably exist to this day,” he said.

As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 34,803 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 9,430 recoveries and 1,236 deaths. (PNA)

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA