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Return to MECQ bitter but necessary pill for business; more layoffs, closures expected

The shift back to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is a bitter but necessary pill to swallow, businesses said Monday, with as much as 3 million employees to be affected and more establishments expected to permanently close down after the two-week period.

According to Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) president Francis Lim, the stricter lockdowns are warranted given the current situation of the country's healthcare workers.

"It's a bitter but necessary pill given the plight of our medical frontliners," he said in a mobile message.

"We hope that the government will deep dive into our COVID-19 strategy and find more effective ways to execute it," he elaborated.

Lim's sentiments were echoed by Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. who noted that at least several sectors could still operate under the MECQ.

"Nagpapasalamat kami hindi ECQ kasi kung ECQ 'yan eh talagang disaster ang mangyayari," he said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

Under the ECQ, only essential businesses are allowed to operate and only at limited capacity.

"Mas livable naman ito. Ang problema na lang dito, 'yung gobyerno kaya ba natin? Kasi bago pa 'yan (MECQ), don na lang talagang 'yun na lang magagawa ng mga 'yan," said Ortiz-Luis.

In the same interview, Ortiz-Luis said some 2 to 3 million workers will be affected, and more employees will be expected to be laid off after the reimposition of the MECQ.

He added that over 3,000 small businesses in the country have already announced their permanent closure, and more are likely to follow suit.

"Madadagdagan 'yun 'pag dinagdagan mo ng dalawang linggong lockdown 'yan. Ito ngang iba nagtitiyaga na na bumalik eh hindi pa naman dumarating 'yung tulong na pinangako dahil mostly loan," he explained.

"'Pag sinara mo sila ng mga dalawang linggo, marami don hindi na babalik talaga," added Ortiz-Luiz.

On Sunday night, President Rodrigo Duterte said Metro Manila, Bulacan, and the Calabarzon areas will again be placed under the MECQ following pleas of the healthcare sector.

Frontliners earlier called on the government to consider reimposing stricter quarantine measures to give health workers a time to recuperate from exhaustion due to the non-stop admission of COVID-19 patients.

Duterte's speech, however, also taunted healthcare workers and said they should have asked for an audience in airing their plea, instead of making public statements.—AOL, GMA News