To say that we live in strange times is an understatement. While we know that the pandemic is far from over, we see several industries and entire provinces opening and easing travel restrictions. Unfortunately, a significant spike of COVID-19 infections continues as we speak. With that, the 17 mayors of the National Capital Region (NCR) decided to impose a curfew from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM across the Metro.

In an online media briefing, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos announced that the spread of the virus must be contained. The MMDA reckons a two (2)-week curfew may help slow it down. After a meeting with the Metro Manila Council (MMC), Abalos took to the internet to deliver the announcement.

“Napagkasunduan na ang bagong oras ng curfew ay magiging alas diyes ng gabi hanggang alas singko ng umaga, at ito ay magsisimula sa Lunes. As I am speaking right now the resolution is being drafted, to be signed by all of the mayors. Ang timetable po dito ay dalawang linggo lamang, this is for two weeks. Bakit dalawang linggo? Dahil ang buhay ng virus ay mga dalawang linggo, makikita mo na. Kung ito ay may improvement, maaaring tanggalin na po ito,” said Abalos.

[It has been agreed upon that the new curfew hours would be from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., and this would start on Monday. As I am speaking right now the resolution is being drafted, to be signed by all of the mayors. The timetable for this curfew is two weeks. Why two weeks? Because the virus can manifest in humans within two weeks, so you could observe it already. If there is an improvement in the number of cases, we can lift the curfew.]

What’s interesting is that Abalos also said that public transport remains active despite the curfew. Possibly this is to help those who work in essential industries to get from work to home. Essential industry workers are exempted from the curfew, as long as they present proof that they are employed and coming from work. Those who are lollygagging and touring, though, will be apprehended. Fines and penalties will be implemented, but these will be according to every respective Local Government Unit’s (LGU) rules.

The country is in dire need of resuscitating the economy, and business and even tourism contribute greatly to this cause. But numbers don’t lie: we are still in the thick of the pandemic. Can we expect fewer vehicles on the road? We should. Are we looking at a decrease in traffic congestion? It’s likely. But what’s most important right now is that you plan your travels accordingly and that you travel only when absolutely essential. A curfew is better than another full-on lockdown, so mask up, be responsible, and keep yourselves and others healthy. It’s the right thing to do.