If it's not essential, stay home

Even before the full implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) – the strictest form of community quarantine – this August 6, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has put up checkpoints around NCR and NCR+ (Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan) bubble as early as August 1.

But what gives? If we are still under general community quarantine (GCQ), why are there checkpoints already?

Well it has something to do with the new subcategory of the GCQ we are under now as the government placed the entire NCR+ under GCQ “with heightened and additional restrictions”. Yes, it's confusing given all the classifications the government is using, but the gist is this:

1. Dine-in will be prohibited. That covers both indoor and outdoor (al fresco) dining.
2. No indoor sports or indoor tourists attractions. Outdoor tourist activities may operate at 30% capacity. 
3. Personal care services (e.g. salons, spas, barbershops, etc.) may operate at 30% capacity. 
4. Extensive limitations on gatherings (e.g. religious gatherings, necrological services).
5. APOR guidelines strictly enforced

The important bit is the APOR or authorized persons outside of residence, which is what the checkpoints are all about. That is why the PNP has already enforced border controls and put up quarantine control points (QCP) around the borders into NCR and NCR+. Only APORs will be allowed to pass through the borders for the time being because a lot of the workforce in essential industries live in NCR+ or just outside of it.

For residents living outside the NCR+ passing through the checkpoints should not be a problem (apart from the traffic) provided they present a valid work ID that is allowed to operate. Aside from QCPs around the border, the PNP may still install regular checkpoints inside the NCR+ bubble. These will allow them to implement curfew hours and general law enforcement. The movement of cargo vehicles and delivery trucks will remain free and uninterrupted across all QCPs.

Once the full implementation on ECQ begins on August 6, expect new restrictions to be implemented. According to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, however, checkpoints will be moved from the borders of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite to around Metro Manila. The reason is NCR will be subjected to the stricter ECQ from August 6 to 20 while NCR+ will have the status quo of GCQ with heightened and additional restrictions.

With the continuous rise of the Delta variant cases across the country, it's best to put your car in P and stay at home for the time being.