IATF says tourism allowed within NCR Plus ‘bubble’, but reality is different

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has recently approved Resolution number 104, which effectively places the entire National Capital Region (NCR) and its border provinces, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan, under a “stricter” General Community Quarantine (GCQ). The new resolution also classified the above jurisdictions as “NCR Plus”.

Supposedly, like the previous lockdowns that were in place a year ago, some travel restrictions are to be put in place, especially when it concerns leisure activities. The Philippine National Police (PNP), however, clarified that there are certain allowable activities if you’re coming from within the NCR Plus bubble.

PNP says leisure activities allowed within ‘NCR Plus’ if... image

Ang hindi lang pwede is lalabas ka ng bubble para pumunta doon (What’s prohibited is if you’re going outside of the bubble to somewhere),” said PNP Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, during a Malacañang press briefing yesterday, March 22, 2021.

For example, if you reside somewhere within the NCR Plus area, like Imus, Cavite or Pasig, you can ride or do leisure activities, including staycations, in Tagaytay City, as long as you’re following the minimum health protocols.

What’s prohibited, according to Lt.Gen. Eleazar, is if you’re coming from outside of the NCR Plus bubble or going outside of it. For example, you’re from Manila or Antipolo, but want to go surfing in La Union, that’s prohibited.

Presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, supported this, saying that despite the new restrictions, the conduct of businesses is still encouraged to support the economy.

Far from reality

PNP: leisure activities allowed within ‘NCR Plus’ but... imagePhoto by netizen Fatima Grace Lita, taken at the boundary of NCR and Bulacan


Though Lt.Gen. Eleazar was clear that leisure activities should be allowed within the NCR Plus bubble, the reality is far from what was said.

On the border of Bulacan and Valenzuela, which is still within NCR Plus, netizens complained that the PNP barricade seemed to be implementing ECQ like that of last year. Those queued had to spend up to 3 hours waiting in line.

This situation was also similar in other areas within the “bubble”, like at the San Mateo-Quezon City boundery, San Jose Del Monte and Marcos Highway in Marikina.

For now, it seems some more coordination is needed among local government units and law enforcement elements. It is prudent to simply postpone any travel or leisure activities, at least until after April 4. Stay home and stay safe.