Fear of ‘lock­down’ trig­gers panic-buy­ing

The Freeman - - Front Page - Iris Hazel M. Mas­cardo Staff Mem­ber

Peo­ple trooped to the su­per­mar­kets and the bus ter­mi­nals as Cebu City Mayor

Edgardo La­bella an­nounced that he is plac­ing the city un­der en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine for one month start­ing Satur­day noon thereby lim­it­ing the move­ment of peo­ple to pre­vent the spread of coro­n­avirus dis­ease (COVID-19).

Juia Jolosinda, 50, rushed to a down­town su­per­mar­ket yes­ter­day to stock up on ba­sic com­modi­ties and other essentials af­ter learn­ing from a post on Facebook that the city will be on a “lock­down”.

"In­gon man kuno sila nga mag-lock­down two weeks," she said re­fer­ring to the Facebook post.

(They said there will be a lock­down for two weeks) "Dali-dali pud ko’g ari diri kay wa nya mi makaon... ki­na­hanglan ko mopalit og bugas, canned goods, kanang mga im­por­tante," she added.

(I’m afraid we will not have any­thing to eat…I need to buy rice, canned goods and other essentials)

Jolosinda was among the hun­dreds of shop­pers in a down­town su­per­mar­ket who had to wait for al­most three hours in long queue, some even un­der the heat of the sun, be­fore they are al­lowed to shop be­cause of the strict im­ple­men­ta­tion of the so­cial dis­tanc­ing mea­sure.

Sev­eral shop­pers al­legedly started queu­ing early in the morn­ing way ahead of the sched­uled store open­ing. A se­cu­rity of­fi­cer said they were caught off-guard by the sud­den in­flux of shop­pers yes­ter­day.

"Be­fore pa jud mi ni open, gubot kaayo sila, mag-ilog ug kung kin­say mag-una, pati kam­ing mga em­p­leyado maglisod ug su­lod," a su­per­mar­ket em­ployee told The FREE­MAN.

The store man­age­ment was forced to de­ploy ad­di­tional se­cu­rity per­son­nel to main­tain or­der of the cus­tomers wait­ing for their turn to shop. Cebu City Po­lice Office (CCPO) direc­tor Col. Hector Gri­jaldo said they will be pro­vid­ing po­lice per­son­nel to pa­trol the su­per­mar­kets in the days to come as they are ex­pect­ing more peo­ple to shop.

TER­MI­NALS

While oth­ers were try­ing to stock up on essentials, res­i­dents of the prov­ince were also scram­bling to re­turn to their home­towns as the en­tire prov­ince was also placed un­der en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine.

Cebu Gov­er­nor Gwen­dolyn Gar­cia is­sued Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der 5-N Wed­nes­day night plac­ing the prov­ince un­der en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine ef­fec­tive March 27. All in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­gers will no longer be al­lowed to en­ter at the Mac­tan Cebu In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Pas­sen­gers started to flock at the Cebu South Bus Ter­mi­nal as early as 7 a.m. yes­ter­day.

CSBT man­ager Car­men Qui­jano said that the num­ber of pas­sen­gers started to buildup be­cause of fear that they can­not go home to their home­towns due to the ex­pected sus­pen­sion of pub­lic trans­port as soon as the en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine is fully im­ple­mented.

Un­der the pro­to­col, sus­pen­sion of pub­lic trans­porta­tion is one of the con­se­quences when an area is placed un­der en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine.

Qui­jano said there were also not enough buses to serve the pas­sen­gers be­cause some bus com­pa­nies have down­sized their op­er­a­tions.

“Naapek­to­han man sad lage ilang kita tun­god an­ing COVID, maong uban sa ilang mga dray­ber ug kon­duk­tor ang gipa-leave,” Qui­jano said.

She added that other bus com­pa­nies also de­cided not to op­er­ate their air­con­di­tioned units in com­pli­ance of the gov­er­nor’s or­der for pub­lic util­ity ve­hi­cles to stop us­ing air­con.

Gar­cia, how­ever, clar­i­fied that air­con buses maybe al­lowed to op­er­ate provided that all pas­sen­gers will be re­quired to wear mask.

“Tu­gotan nato ang air­con basta kay ang mosakay sa maong bus mag­sul-ob og mask. Exemption kana, ug ato na ipaabot sa tanan na­tong kapolisan nga nag­ban­tay karon sa mga ter­mi­nals,” Gar­cia said.

Pas­sen­gers wait to get a ride at the Cebu North Bus Ter­mi­nal as they rush to re­turn to their home­towns be­fore the en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine (ECQ) takes ef­fect over the week­end. Un­der the ECQ, pub­lic trans­port is ex­pected to be sus­pended. ALDO NELBERT BANAYNAL

Shop­pers line up at a su­per­mar­ket in down­town Cebu City to stock on sup­plies as the city is placed un­der en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine start­ing on Satur­day. ALDO NELBERT BANAYNAL

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