This is the scene at past 2 a.m. on the border of Rizal and Marikina along Sumulong Highway:


The photo is taken from AO Editor in Chief Allan Hernandez’s window—he lives in a building right smack on the border. His body clock is also miserably awry so he is awake till the wee hours, and so from his perch he was able to sit it out with the rest of the people who got stuck at the checkpoint hours after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered an “enhanced community quarantine” that affects the whole of Luzon on the evening of March 16. 


“The checkpoint had been there since Friday after the first announcement of a curfew,” AO chief says. “Military and police personnel set up camp in a vacant lot across from where I live. Over the weekend, the checkpoint had mainly been to check identification and everyone got through without a hitch.” 


But on Monday night right after the president’s announcement the uniformed checkpoint personnel instituted more stringent measures as set out in the guidelines from the Office of the President, which stated that “a strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households; movement shall be limited to accessing basic necessities; provision for food and health services shall be regulated; and there will be heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.”


“So the enforcement was what happened. I’m guessing the people who had no business coming into Metro Manila were not allowed to cross the border of Rizal and Marikina. Either they were uninformed of the announcement or did not know it would be that strict. I was thinking if they had been to Antipolo and were going home to Marikina, and they couldn’t get in because they were stuck, then that would be a real bummer. I mean, they have to want to come into Marikina because they had been stuck there since before midnight,” our chief says. 




The choke point remained until past noon today, March 17, when roadblocks were removed and uniformed personnel moved out. “Maybe the City of Marikina intervened,” AO chief says.


The enhanced community quarantine will expire on midnight of April 13, so that’s almost a month that we will be asked to stay home to contain the spread of Covid-19.