EXPLAINER: What is ECQ in NCR Plus?

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to place Metro Manila and nearby provinces known as 'NCR Plus' under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest quarantine classification, this Holy Week.

EXPLAINER: What is ECQ in NCR Plus?

: 'NCR Plus' under ECQ this Holy Week

ECQ will take effect in Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal from March 29 (Monday) until April 4 (Easter Sunday).

The shift to ECQ came as the country continues to log record number of infections, with 9,595 announced Saturday, the second-highest since the pandemic hit the country.

Effectively known as total lockdown, it was first implemented a year ago during the onset of the health crisis. Months after, the country's capital and economic hubs transitioned to less stringest classifications.

But what is ECQ again?

ECQ generally refers to the following:
  • implementation of temporary measures imposing stringent limitations on movement and transportation of people,
  • strict regulation of operating industries
  • provision of food and essential services
  • heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce community quarantine protocols.


1. Minimum public health standards shall be complied with at all times for the duration of the ECQ.

2. Strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households, and the movement of all residents shall be limited to accessing essential goods and services, and for work in permitted offices or establishments as well as activities listed hereunder.

3. Any person below eighteen (18) years old, those who are over sixty-five years of age, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the aforementioned, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries and offices or such other permitted activities.

4. The following establishments, persons, or activities are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken for the duration of the ECQ:

a. with full operational capacity:

i. Public and private hospitals;

ii. Health, emergency and frontline services, including those provided by dialysis centers, chemotherapy centers, and the like;

iii. Manufacturers of medicines, medical supplies, devices and equipment, including suppliers of input, packaging, and distribution;

iv. Industries involved in agriculture, forestry, and fishery and their workers, including farmers, Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), fisherfolk, and agri-fishery stores, and such other components of the food value chain;

v. Delivery and courier services, whether in-house or outsourced, transporting food, medicine, or other essential goods, including clothing, accessories, hardware, housewares, school and office supplies, as well as pet food and other veterinary products.

b. At a maximum of fifty percent (50%) operational capacity, without prejudice to the adoption of work-from-home or other alternative work arrangements and without diminution of existing operational capacity previously allowed, if any:

i. Private establishments and their employees involved in the provision of essential goods and services, and activities in the value chain related to food, medicine and vitamins production, medical supplies, devices and equipment, and other essential products such as but not limited to soap and detergents, diapers, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and wet wipes, and disinfectants. Such establishments shall include, but shall not be limited to, public markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, laundry shops, food preparation establishments insofar as take-out and delivery services, and water-refilling stations, unless a higher operational capacity is authorized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI);

ii. Media establishments and their total permanent staff complement, inclusive of reporters and other field employees, as registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and accredited by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO);

iii. Workers accredited by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to work on utility relocation works, and specified limited works across thirteen (13) railway projects, including replacement works for the Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3. Provided that where applicable, on-site or near-site accommodations and/or point-to-point shuttle services should be arranged.

c. with a skeleton workforce

i. Other medical, dental, rehabilitation, and optometry clinics, pharmacies or drug stores

ii. Veterinary clinics

iii. Banks, money transfer services, including pawnshops

iv. Capital markets

v. Water supply and sanitation services and facilities

vi. Energy and power companies, their third-party contractors and service providers

vii. Telecommunications companies, internet service providers, cable television providers

viii. Airline and aircraft maintenance, pilots and crew, and employees of aviation schools

ix. Manufacturing companies and suppliers of equipment or products necessary to perform construction works

x. The Philippine Postal Corporation

xi. The Philippine Statistics Authority

xii. Business process outsourcing establishments (BPOs) and export-oriented businesses, including mining and quarrying.

xiii. Essential projects, whether public or private, such as but not limited to quarantine and isolation facilities

xiv. Funeral and embalming services

xv. Humanitarian assistance personnel

xvi. Pastors, priests, rabbis, imams or such other religious ministers

xvii. Security personnel

xviii. Printing presses authorized by the Bureau of Internal Revenue or other appropriate agencies

xix. Establishments engaged in repair and maintenance of machinery and equipment

xx. Real estate activities limited to leasing only

5. Agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including GOCCs, as well as LGUs, may operate with a skeleton workforce in combination with other alternative work arrangements as approved by the head of agency unless a different operational capacity is required in agencies providing health and emergency frontline services, border control, or other critical services.

6. No travel pass needed.

7. Mass gatherings such as but not limited to, movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, religious gatherings, and non-essential work gatherings shall be prohibited. However, gatherings that are essential for the provision of government services or authorized humanitarian activities shall be allowed.

8. Face-to-face or in-person classes at all levels shall be suspended.

9. Public transportation will be allowed to operate but in limited capacity. Guidelines will be set by Department of Transportation (DOTr).

10. The movement of cargo vehicles shall be unhampered. Cargo vehicles as well as vehicles used by public utility companies, BPOs, and export-oriented establishments shall not be subject to an ID system.

11. Curfew in 'NCR Plus' will be from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am. Authorized Persons Outside of their Residences (APORs) , workers, cargo vehicles, and public transportation, however, shall not be restricted by such curfew.

12. No malls except for the essential stores i.e. groceries and pharmacies, hardware. Restaurant for take out and delivery only.

— The Summit Express

1 Comment

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  1. very informative article. thanks po sa ECQ explainer

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