House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco expressed his support to National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) recommendation to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting March 21.
The proposed date was over a year since the Philippines was first placed under lockdown since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
“I personally agree with NEDA’s proposal to place the entire country under MGCQ next month. It is about time we safely relax pandemic restrictions to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on the economy,” he said in a statement.
“With vaccines on the way, we should start encouraging our countrymen to patronize businesses again while strictly adhering to minimum health and safety protocols.”
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.
Also read: Eased age restrictions in MGCQ areas opposed
Velasco supports placing entire PH under MGCQ 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.
Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez warned the Philippines is becoming the last when it comes to COVID-19 recovery.
“Medyo kulelat tayo ngayon, nahuhuli tayo pagdating sa recovery. In other words, tayo nagre-recover naman. Nakita natin ‘yung GDP [natin] na bumagsak … maliit na lang ‘yung negatives. From -16.5 naging -11.5, naging -8.7 o -8.3. So unti-unti na ‘yung minus. Pero ‘yung minus na ‘yun, minus pa rin. E dati, +plus 6 tayo, +6.5. So, bagsak pa din,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
“‘Pag kinumpara mo sa ibang bansa, tayo pinakahuli, lalo na ‘yung mga neighboring countries natin. Eh ‘yung neighboring countries natin, maliit din ‘yung COVID cases. Pero bakit naggo-grow sila o kaya mas maliit ‘yung bagsak ng economy nila? Tayo yung huli,” he added.