Economy to gain P3.6 billion per week, thousands of jobs if NCR eases to Alert Level 2: NEDA
Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Oct 28 2021 06:17 PM
The presence of vendors drastically increase in the area as people flock to the Manila Baywalk dolomite beach to watch the sunset on October 21, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
MANILA - The Philippine economy could gain billions of pesos and thousands of jobs per week if Metro Manila and other areas in the country are placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 which entails the relaxation of some restrictions, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said Thursday.
If the alert is brought down to the said level, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) can improve by P3.6 billion per week and the number of unemployed could be reduced by 16,000, latest estimates by the National Economic Development Authority showed.
If areas outside the National Capital Region will be included, an additional P4.7 billion economic output per week and reduction of jobless Filipinos by 20,000 may be achieved.
The National Capital Region, home to around 13.5 million people and which accounts for a third of the national economy, is under Alert Level 3 until Oct. 31. The government is testing the new 5-level scheme that goes with granular lockdowns, to replace the 4-step community quarantine classification.
"There are very clear indicators why opening the economy will have a direct impact on GDP (gross domestic product) and the people," Chua said in a webinar organized by the the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP).
COVID-19 daily cases have been on the downtrend in the last few days. Wednesday's total of 3,218 cases is the lowest since late May, data showed.
An independent research group attributed the decline in new infections to the wide coverage of the government's COVID-19 vaccination program.
Coco Alcuaz, executive director of the Makati Business Club said job generation could only pick up once the economy reopens further.
"We need to reopen the economy as fast as possible, as safely as possible. An economy has its own engine. And once you get it started, it can, in large part, fuel itself," he said.
Teachers and students should also be prioritized in the vaccination program to pave the way for the resumption of face-to-face classes, Alcuaz said.
A NEDA study estimated that the education sector could lose some P11 trillion over the next 40 years due to the present and long-term impact of the pandemic to face-to-face schooling, school closures and teachers' job losses.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved a pilot test of face-to-face classes in select areas beginning next month.
Meanwhile, Management Association of the Philippines chair Riza Mantaring said the government should balance health and financial security.
Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion on Thursday also pushed for the lowering of the alert to level 2 which he said would increase operational capacity of businesses.
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