Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III urged President Rodrigo Duterte to shift Metro Manila and the CALABARZON region to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) “as quickly as possible” for economic reasons.
Dominguez explained during the weekly Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases meeting on Tuesday that the Philippines’ economy is highly reliant on the two regions.
“You put NCR (National Capital Region), CALABARZON— that is where the economy is based, about 60 percent or 67 percent of our economy is based in that area. That should move more to the MGCQ as quickly as possible because people have to start working,” Dominguez told the President.
The DOF chief pointed out that the country’s strong economic foundations when 2020 started.
“It was supposed to be an upper-middle-income country by this year prior to COVID-19, but we won’t make it,” said Dominguez.
Some international financial institutions projected a significant economic contraction for the Philippines this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.
International Monetary Fund sees an up to 3.6 percent economic decline. The Asian Development Bank predicts the Philippine economy to shrink by 3.8 percent. The World Bank meanwhile sees a 1.9 percent contraction.
“We have to face the new reality. The reality today is that the virus is not going to go away, and we will have to live with it for a long period of time,” Dominguez added.
Dominguez suggested implementing targeted lockdowns with a high number of infections to minimize the people’s fear of spreading the virus once Metro Manila and CALABARZON regions were placed under MGCQ.
“For me, we should monitor it on a barangay level. The cases go up, just close it down but do it on a place-to-place basis and do it also on a company-to-company basis. So if the company has a big spike close it down also,” he said.
President Duterte announced Tuesday night that Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite would remain under general community quarantine until July 15. While Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, and Lucena City are now under MGCQ in the same timeframe.