A TOP official of one of the country’s employers group has decried the prolonged lockdown saying there is “justified need” for the calibrated reopening of the economy.
Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said reopening will save countless jobs and allow business resumption while strict implementation of basic health and safety protocols will help contain the spread of the virus.
He warned that the new lockdown will translate to further huge economic losses. “This will cost billions because we are reversing the growth momentum just for very small impacts,” he said.
The National Capital Region plus four provinces, namely Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal — dubbed as the “NCR Plus” — are under the strictest form of quarantine from March 29 until April 4 due to the rising cases of Covid-19 in these areas. The Department of Health on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, recommended a week-long extension of the enhanced community quarantine in the “NCR Plus” saying that lifting it after April 4 would only result in minimal decline of Covid-19 cases.
Ortiz-Luis, who is also president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), said reopening the economy remains the firm stand of business organizations even as Covid-19 cases continue to rise, and Metro Manila and surrounding provinces have been placed in an “NCR Plus” bubble.
The business leader said quarantine restrictions have only served to plunge the Philippines into its worst recession since 1947.
Exports, a major economic driver accounting for some 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, continue to nosedive. More than four million Filipinos have lost their jobs.
He reiterated the call for the government to consider the business sector’s proposed “concrete, practical, less costly measures” that aim to help both the government and private sector beat Covid-19.