The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has recommended that the entire country could be placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) to rebuild the economy caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
MGCQ is the simplest of the 4 quarantine classifications laid down by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This is something that some experts and officials have opposed, arguing that the government should intensify their vaccination drive against COVID-19 in the Philippines, with 552,246 cases so far – based on the latest Department of Health records.
According to acting NEDA chief Karl Chua, more than P1 trillion was lost to the country’s economy by 2020 due to lockdown protocols implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
He said this is equivalent to P2.8 billion per day.
In addition, he said, the number of recorded cases can be controlled and there are mechanisms that are supposed to continue to control it.
“Gusto na po nating ma-mitigate or mabawasan ‘yung sickness, hunger, job and income loss that are arising from non-COVID cases. At kung kailangan, gumamit tayo ng localized lockdowns sa mga barangay o municipal level to address the spread of the virus,” said Chua.
NEDA wants MGCQ for entire Philippines starting March
NEDA also wants to gradually ease restrictions on public transport.
For now, Metro Manila – which is the epicenter of the virus according to OCTA Research – and some other places remain on GCQ; while the rest of the country is MGCQ.
According to the Job Displacement Monitoring Report of the Department of Labor and Employment, the number of displaced workers was 133,315 in the first month of 2021.
Of these, 25,226 were laid off and 108,089 were laid off or reduced wages.
4,220 businesses were affected, of which 142 were closed; 1,279 retrenched or reduced personnel; 1,182 temporarily closed, while 1,617 implemented flexible working arrangements.
NEDA also proposes to continue pilot testing of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas to be infected with COVID-19, as well as the gradual easing of quarantine restrictions. But some health experts and government officials opposed this.
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, there are areas in the country where the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing.