MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – A non-partisan coalition of groups has announced that on March 17, it will hold a huge mass rally on EDSA (site of the historic gathering that led to the ouster of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos), to commemorate the first anniversary of the Philippines’ Enhanced Community Quarantine, or ECQ.
The ECQ was first imposed in all of Luzon island and subsequently across the country by President Rodrigo Duterte to mark the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, Filipinos were banned from leaving their homes, going to malls and churches, and forbidden to travel. There were also many localized lockdowns and a host of restrictions and innovative health protocols that boggled people’s minds.
The national government’s Covid-19 policy-making body, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has surprisingly issued a blanket permit for Monday’s mass rally, provided that participants adhere to these rules:
- Wearing of face masks
- Wearing of face shields
- No texting or talking on cell phones
- No public display of affection (holding hands, kissing, hugging)
- No conversations or laughter
- Above all: strict observance of physical distancing. Health Secretary Francisco Duque will be in attendance at the rally with his tape measure to ensure adherence to the one-meter rule.