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
Fear of ‘lockdown’ triggers panic-buying
Le Phyllis F. Antojado, Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - March 27, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  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.  FPL (FREEMAN)

LOCKDOWN PANIC BUYING
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