Filipinos Violate Lockdown Measures, Derailing Sacrifices of Others


Filipinos' failure to follow lockdown rules is rendering the months-long sacrifices of frontliners and compliant citizens useless. 

The Philippines was the first country in Asia to implement sweeping lockdowns across the capital and some of its regions, but the country has only seen a steadily rising statistic of confirmed cases of COVID-19. It has now surpassed Malaysia as the country with the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

Under the enhanced community quarantine, everybody is ordered to remain at home. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have temporarily lost their income, a sacrifice they are taking for the sake of containing the virus. But some people are not taking things seriously, risking the failure of everyone’s efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

On the ground, some Filipinos continue to spend the day outside as if the country is not in the middle of an ongoing calamity. Some have been caught attending cockfights, playing bingo, boxing, driving to a coffee shop, or chatting with neighbors.

In these photos, Filipinos are shown shopping at a marketplace in Blumentritt, Manila. Some vendors are not even wearing face masks or gloves while handling goods.

In other parts of Manila, people have been hosting boxing matches and gambling. The rampant violations prompted Manila mayor Isko Moreno to order the total shutdown of Barangay 20 for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to think these motorists on the northbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway are out for a grocery run. Traffic is worse than on a normal day.


The situation in Cavite is no better, and has prompted Governor Jonvic Remulla to list the number of violators in the province’s cities, joking these would be recipients of the “Golden Palakol Awards.”

These Quezon City residents were caught outside their homes without quarantine passes.


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Residents in Valenzuela were also apprehended for hosting cockfights. But in a swift act that is nothing short of poetic justice with a tinge of savagery, Valenzuela mayor Rex Gatchalian confiscated all their chickens, cooked these, and ate them. 


ECQ should be a collective effort.

According to Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, head of the infectious diseases department at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, it is crucial that everyone take the quarantine very seriously.

“We just really need people to cooperate. It will be a real help for people to just stop going around, being exposed. It makes a huge impact,” says Dr. Ong-Lim.


Many people are not aware they are infected.

With the majority of infected people showing no signs or symptoms of COVID-19, many are letting their guard down, often disregarding precautionary measures such as the curfew, lockdown, and wearing face masks.

Most infected people—around 80 percent—are the most likely ones to spread the disease because they are unaware of their condition.


“If you can manage to get those 80 percent with mild illness from spreading the disease around, then you can make a significant impact on the 15 and the five percent [who are vulnerable]. Napakalaking tulong na noon sa amin,” says Dr. Ong-Lim.


Here is the lockdown, simplified.


1| Everyone is ordered to stay at home. They can only go out to buy essentials. 

Under the enhanced community quarantine or ECQ, everyone is ordered to stay at home, unless buying essentials for survival such as food, water, and medicine. Iced coffee is not one of those things.

2| The quarantine pass is valid only from 5 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. and only in the issuing barangay.

If you should go out to buy these essentials, you have to carry a home quarantine pass issued to your household by your barangay. Only one member of the household may use this during the day.

All quarantine passes are valid only from 5 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. because a curfew takes effect from 8 p.m. to 4:59 a.m. The pass will only be recognized within the barangay or city that issued it. You cannot use a quarantine pass issued in Manila to go to Quezon City.

3| No forms of social gatherings shall take place, even in your own homes. 

A nationwide liquor ban is also in place to discourage social drinking. No social gatherings shall be made during the ECQ, whether these are parties, drinking sessions, or funerals. You may not invite your friends over to have a drinking session at home and vice versa. Funerals should be attended only by immediate family members.

4| When outside, wear a mask and observe physical distancing.

Observe physical distancing of at least one meter when going out in public. Wearing face masks is now mandatory for all citizens who are outside.



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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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