NCR Alert Level 2 to yield P7.2 billion in output

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
NCR Alert Level 2 to yield P7.2 billion in output
Devotees gather in Plaza Miranda fronting the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila as they attend the first Friday mass yesterday. Right photo shows children at a playground in Quezon City. Minors are now allowed outdoors under Alert Level 2.
Miguel De Guzman, Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila’s shift to Alert Level 2 over the next two weeks is expected to yield some P7.2 billion in additional economic output.

Based on estimates by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the National Capital Region (NCR) will gain P3.6 billion in economic output and provide 16,000 jobs on a weekly basis.

The government has just approved the de-escalation of the alert level for Metro Manila to No. 2 as COVID-19 cases in the capital continue to drop.

The current alert status will remain for the next two weeks or until Nov. 21.

Metro Manila, the country’s economic center, is coming from a three-week Alert Level 3 status originally scheduled to hold until Nov. 14.

Over the last three weeks, the NCR gained some P17.4 billion and 72,000 jobs.

Under Alert Level 2, more businesses are allowed to operate at a higher capacity.

Establishments and activities shall be allowed a maximum of 50 percent indoor venue capacity for fully
 vaccinated individuals and 70 percent capacity for outdoor venue.

Workers and employees of these establishments should be fully vaccinated and health protocols should still be observed.

Included are dine-in services, venues for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, venues for social events, tourist attractions like libraries, museums, galleries among others and amusement parks or theme parks.

Also included are recreational venues, cinemas and movie houses, in-person religious gathering and necrological services, licensure or entrance examinations, personal care establishments and fitness studios and gyms.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jojo Clemente said the development is expected to hasten the recovery of the tourism sector and usher in a better Christmas season.

“In Boracay, almost 100 percent of tourism workers have been vaccinated. The DOT (Department of Tourism) is targeting next Bohol, Siargao and Palawan. Major destinations are being prioritized in the vaccination of tourism frontliners,” he said in Filipino in an interview on GMA News.

He also said tourism businesses like hotels and resorts under the TCP are offering low rates to attract more tourists. “We’re confident Christmas will be better,” he added.

Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion also welcomed the development.

“I would like to thank the national government for considering our call. An Alert Level 2 for NCR will be a big boost for businesses,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Concepcion said the lower COVID-19 cases and easing of restrictions are a result of the lockdown in August when the country faced threat from the Delta variant of the virus.

“We did what was right to save the fourth quarter,” he said. “I am positive that not only will we have a merrier Christmas, but we can also look forward to a brighter 2022.”

He stressed, however, the need for greater vigilance as the country is still not out of the woods yet.

“We need to be more vigilant. We need to ensure that the minimum safety protocols of face masks and social distancing are followed. More importantly, business establishments that are allowed to accept only vaccinated customers should make sure that they follow this guideline,” he said.

Concepcion also said more vaccines should be rolled out in the provinces at this time to fully vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population.

“Vaccine hesitancy is high in the provinces, especially in the economically challenged sectors,” he said, adding mayors and barangay captains need to actively push for greater vaccine acceptance.

“What is important is we are able to sustain this momentum. More mobility also comes with risk, but even if we do see a rise in infections, we have to remember that a fully vaccinated person has a low risk of being admitted in the hospital,” he said.

Through vaccination, he said the country would be able to avoid overwhelming the health care system and the imposition of lockdowns.

With the easing of quarantine restrictions in the NCR, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered police commanders to shift their focus to anti-crime measures.

Eleazar said police should beef up security to protect the public against criminal elements as more people are now allowed outdoors in Metro Manila.

“I am also expecting all our unit commanders especially in Metro Manila to adopt the best practices that were implemented at the height of the pandemic restrictions in order to restrict the movement of criminal elements, especially the motorcycle-riding criminals, in urban areas,” he said.

Eleazar also instructed the National Capital Region Police Office, which has jurisdiction over Metro Manila, to make sure all its personnel are well informed of the guidelines set under Alert Level 2 to avoid confusion in enforcement. –  Louella Desiderio, Ghio Ong, Emmanuel Tupas


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