P180 billion losses estimated during ECQ
Commuters strictly follow IATF health protocols, including observing proper social distancing, while inside the trains and stations of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and 2 on Sunday. April 11, 2021.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

P180 billion losses estimated during ECQ

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine economy’s losses due to the imposition of the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces are estimated to have reached P180 billion, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

“In terms of economic loss, the estimate for the two weeks is around one percent of our GDP (gross domestic product). If our GDP is P18 trillion… the one percent is P180 billion and this is the estimated loss of the economy,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said during the Laging Handa briefing yesterday.

NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal were placed under ECQ for two weeks amid a new surge in coronavirus cases, before shifting to the less restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The five areas will be under MECQ until the end of the month.

Lopez said job losses during the two-week ECQ are estimated at 1.5 million.

Of the 1.5 million, he said 500,000 are expected to have returned to work with the shift to MECQ, which has allowed more sectors to operate.

“One million are expected to return hopefully, when we move to GCQ (general community quarantine),” he said.

Prior to the imposition of ECQ, he said the survey conducted by the DTI showed only 4.6 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises were closed.

He said the DTI would push for moving to GCQ if improvements would be seen in terms of a decline in new COVID-19 cases and in the utilization rate in hospitals.

In addition, he said the agency would also be looking at contact tracing efforts, and the isolation of those who are positive or suspected to be infected with the virus.

He also said non-essential gatherings may still not be permitted should the areas move to GCQ.

He said it is important for the country to achieve herd immunity and for many individuals to be vaccinated.

As the DTI is in talks with companies interested in manufacturing vaccines in the country, he said he is hopeful investments could be made within the year or by next year.

Earlier, he said the DTI is in talks with about six local companies on their plans for local vaccine manufacturing.

The six firms are Greentech, Glovax Biotech, IG Biotech, New Marketlink, Lloyds Laboratories and Unilab.

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