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Only 50% of economy open after NCR, nearby areas return to MECQ –NEDA

The National Economic and Development Authority on Friday said that only half of the economy’s capacity is open after Metro Manila and nearby provinces returned to stricter lockdown for two weeks.

At a Palace briefing, NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua recalled that when the entire Luzon and other high-risk areas in the country were under enhanced community quarantine in mid-March until end-May, only 25% of the economy was open.

Looser restrictions were then implemented under the general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.

“Noong pumunta tayo sa GCQ (general community quarantine) and ‘yung ibang lugar ng ating bansa ay MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) [ay] 75%,” Chua said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, placed Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan under MECQ from August 4 to 18, following pleas from the medical community for a “time out” amid rising COVID-19 cases being admitted to hospitals.

“Ang sitwasyon po natin ngayon na bumalik tayo sa 50% that is the MECQ in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, plus GCQ and elsewhere,” Chua said.

“Bumababa ang percent ng ekonomiya na bukas,” he said.

The Socioeconomic Planning official said the two-week lockdown’s impact will be short-term.

The return to MECQ of Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces was also factored in the revised economic assumption that the Philippines will end 2020 with -5.5% gross domestic product. 

Nevertheless, Chua said the revert to stricter lockdown should be an opportunity to enhance the health care system.

“Ang mahalaga po dito kung hindi natin matugunan ang kulang pa sa ating healthcare system response then this problem will prolong itself,” he said.

“Give this two-week period a chance so that we can strengthen the healthcare system, address the concerns of healthcare workers so we can sustain our recovery kesa naman wala tayong ginawa at maraming ma-infect at magkasakit,” he noted.

“We take one step back so that we can take two steps forward,” Chua said. —LBG, GMA News