DTI chief sees 200,000 jobs returning with new system

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
DTI chief sees 200,000 jobs returning with new system
File photo dated March 17, 2020 shows commuters scrambling for a ride in Commonwealth market after the government suspended public transportation following the announcement of enhanced community quarantine.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The pilot implementation of the COVID-19 alert level system in Metro Manila starting tomorrow is expected to generate P180 million a week in revenue and bring back about 200,000 jobs in restaurants and personal care service establishments, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said yesterday.

Lopez made the projections as the government task force against COVID-19 allowed restaurants and personal services such as barbershops, hair spas and beauty salons to operate at maximum 30 percent capacity.

“It’s really focused on these labor-intensive jobs. That’s the reason why we prioritized necessary basic services,” he said at a press briefing.

Lopez said more than two million people are working in the restaurant industry, almost half of them in Metro Manila.

“And if you look at their operations, the outdoor al fresco only accounts for about 10 percent and indoor (dine-in) 90 percent. Now, since outdoor dine-in was allowed at 30 percent, 30 percent of 10 percent is three percent. In the case of indoor, it is open at 10 percent; 10 percent of 90 percent is nine percent, so three plus nine is 12 percent of business,” Lopez explained.

“Now, you apply that in terms of revenue per week, the revenue per week of SME (small and medium enterprises) is P1.5 billion per week. So, applying 12 percent of that, around P180 million per week hopefully will return. Not much, but at least some may restart in these sectors,” he said.

Metro Manila will be under Alert Level 4 – the second highest of the five-level alert system – starting Thursday.

Alert Level 4 refers to areas where case counts are high and/or increasing. Total bed and intensive care unit utilization rates are also high in areas under Alert Level 4.

While some establishments have permanently closed, Lopez noted that many entrepreneurs have turned to “pandemic-proof” businesses to survive.

“So they venture into businesses which are not prohibited and have growth, like e-commerce, delivery service, everything that can be sold online,” he said.

Under Alert Level 4, Metro Manila residents below 18 years and above 65 years are still not allowed to leave their residences for leisure travel, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said yesterday.

In a statement, the DOT said it welcomed the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowing inter-zonal leisure travel for residents of the region.

However, DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said travelers would still be subjected to “reasonable” restrictions, based on age and comorbidities and in accordance with the regulations of local government units at their destinations.

Puyat also said that almost all tourism hotel workers across Metro Manila have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“All in all, tourism workers in NCR, including those in DOT-accredited restaurants, recorded a 94 percent vaccination rate. This is an added assurance, not only to the safety of our guests, but our tourism workers as well,” Puyat said.

“Allowing fully vaccinated guests to dine in restaurants located inside DOT-accredited hotels and restaurants will slowly help restart the economy while making sure all our tourism workers and guests are safe,” she added, citing guidelines. – Helen Flores, Ralph Villanueva

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