Malacañang is not inclined to extend the duration of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, saying a prolonged lockdown would lead to grave economic consequences.
The pandemic forced the shut down of many businesses around the world, including those in the Philippines, whose economy shrank for the first time in over two decades during the first quarter of 2020.
“Tatapatin ko po kayo, hindi na po kaya ng ekonomiya ang mas matagalan pang lockdown,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing on Tuesday.
Roque maintained that the purpose of the MECQ was to give medical frontliners a breather amid the rising COVID-19 cases and to strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic. Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal will be under MECQ from August 4 to 18.
“Nandoon na po tayo sa punto na siguro nga po mapapabagal nang husto ang COVID-19, pero habang wala pong hanapbuhay eh paano naman po mabubuhay ang mga ordinaryong mga mamamayan," he said.
“Ang problema po ngayon sa dalawang linggo na lockdown, saan po makakakuha ng ayuda dahil nga po wala ng batas na naipasa ang Kongreso.”
The government earlier said Philippine economy is likely to contract further in the April to June period due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine, which is the strictest form of lockdown.
The government will release on Thursday the economic data for the second quarter.
“Lalabas ngayon ang pigura ng second quarter GDP growth natin, napakatindi po ng ibinaba ng ating ekonomiya. Kaya nga po ang aming mensahe sa ating taumbayan, kinakailangan po ingatan ang ating kalusugan para po tayo ay makapaghanapbuhay,” Roque said. — RSJ, GMA News