Netizens cry foul over ‘selective’ Sibugay Sunday lockdownJune 7, 2021
Zamboanga Sibugay had turned virtually empty Sunday as the provincial government implemented a “No Movement Sunday” together with other places in Mindanao amid spike of coronavirus cases.
Gov. Wilter Palma issued an executive order placing the province under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from June 2 until June 15.
Section 9 of the order mandated the observance of a “No Movement Sunday” for two Sundays, June 6 and June 13. Several places in Mindanao had also implemented Sunday lockdowns. These places include Cotabato City, General Santos City, and Datu Odin Sinsuat and Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao.
In Ipil, the capital town of Zamboanga Sibugay, the Sunday lockdown went well until a photo surfaced on social media showing many vehicles lining up the drive-thru facility of a fast food store. The photo also had shown people outside the premises of the fast food store.
Netizens erupted and lashed out at “selective” implementation of the Sunday lockdown.
It’s unfair, several netizens lamented, asking why the fast food store was allowed to open.
While small food businesses shuttered their operation, some netizens observed, the fast food store continued their operation.
Section 9 of the executive order does not allow “movement of persons outside of residence.” The same section provides exemptions such as those “securing health, emergency, and/or frontline services… and unless discharging indispensable services related to food, security, health, water, social services, sanitation, environment and disaster, delivery services….”
“We closed down our food business in obedience to the order, but what about this fast food store?” one netizen, who owns a small resto, lamented.
The Sun Monitor had reached out to the Provincial Legal Office (PLO) for an opinion.
A lawyer of the PLO replied to the query saying the order allows drive-thru and delivery services.
Netizens again flooded the social media with comments lashing out at the “unfair” implementation.
Several owners of medium-sized restos questioned why the provincial government did not clarify the exemptions beforehand.
Minutes later, the lawyer corrected that the order only allows delivery services during Sunday lockdown. But from Monday to Saturday, the order allows drive-thru and delivery services.
‘Limited Movement Sunday’
A netizen corrected: It’s not a No Movement Sunday, it should be Limited Movement Sunday.
When workers of a food business have to report for work on a Sunday lockdown, the netizen clarified, it is not a “no movement.”
It should have been alright with them if the provincial government informed them of this exemption for food businesses, several small food business owners lamented.
Louie Pangilinan Lanaja, a school administrator, opined: “No movement should be no movement” with exemptions.
He said the no movement order should exempt those working in health-related facilities and law enforcement.
If a fast food business was allowed to open, all food businesses should be allowed to open, he said.
The provincial government had implemented a Saturday lockdown in August last year. (READ: Sibugay netizens react to Palma appeal of Saturday total lockdown)
Palma asked the more than 600,000 residents of the province to stay-at-home during the lockdown. A business group criticized the lockdown as anti-business.
A week after, however, the governor recalled his order for Saturday lockdown. He urged the residents to observe the minimum health protocols instead.
It is not yet clear if Palma will do the same amid adverse reactions of the Sunday lockdown. (READ: Coronavirus-free Zambo Sibugay to emerge from lockdown: Fears and prospects)
The governor ordered a capitol lockdown from June 7 until June 10 citing the rising cases of COVID-19 cases.
Zamboanga Sibugay has logged 1,138 COVID-19 cases of June 6. Ipil has 349 confirmed cases, the highest among the 16 municipalities of the province.
The death toll in the province due to coronavirus has reached 36 deaths. (with reports and photo from Paolo V. Manaytay)