ECQ cost Phl P180-B revenue losses

Two weeks of the reimplementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region Plus (NCR+) to curb the rising number of Covid 19 cases have resulted to P180 Billion revenue losses in the economy, as 1.5 million of the country’s workforce were displaced from their jobs due to movement restrictions and region-side lockdowns.

During the “Laging Handa Public Briefing”, Thursday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said one percent of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was squandered during the reimplementation of the ECG from 29 March to 11 April.

“For the two weeks, our estimate is that we lost around 1% of our GDP. If the country has P18 Trillion GDP, then around P180 B ang estimate na nawala sa ating ekonomiya,” said Lopez.

He said the Trade Department is currently awaiting the outcome of its across the board labor force survey to know how much workforce were halted from work during the reimplementation of the ECQ in NCR+ on those said dates.

“But before the ECQ, the unemployment rate was lowered to 4.6%. But again in our estimate, around 1.5 workers are affected during the recent ECQ. But with the de-escalation to modified ECQ (MECQ), we expect that 500 thousand workers will go back to their work,” he emphasized.

The Trade chief noted that they are pushing the reopening of more industries to preserve jobs for Filipinos, as he maintained that these workplaces are not super spreaders, as study showed that contraction of the Covid 19 virus in the workplaces is only 20%.

“Contraction of the virus happens in the communities, households, transportation and the spike of non-essential activities and gatherings, not in the workplaces. That’s why we suggest that those activities should continue to be barred when we are already in the GCQ,” Lopez stressed.

GCQ possible?

The Trade chief, also a member of the Duterte Administration’s economic team, maintained that they are still confident that the general community quarantine (GCQ) classification will be pushed in the coming weeks, but this will depend on the Covid 19 cases data.

“Depende po ito sa pagdating ng data, kapag maganda na talaga yung improvement at nagkaroon na tayo ng surplus pagdating sa mga ICU rooms, hospital beds. Yun po ang napaka-importante para masabi na nating makakabalik na tayo sa GCQ. Kailangan bumaba ang cases at mataas ang kapasidad ng health care system and mapababa ang utilization rates sa mga hospitals,” Lopez noted.

Lopez added that included in the factors to consider in quarantine classification de-escalation is the country’s ability to perform effective contact tracing and the isolation of Covid 19 positive patients.

He said the days of the MECQ implementation is critical for the government to lower the quarantine classification, although the country is still breaching the 8,000 plus Covid cases in recent days.

The NCR+ and its adjacent provinces of Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan and Laguna were placed under MECQ starting 12 to 20 this month.

As of 14 April, the Department of Health (DOH) has tallied 892,880 total cases, 15,447 deaths and 704,386 recoveries.

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