In a bid to open up the country’s economy even more extensively, the government is eyeing to increase the allowed operating capacity of businesses based in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Calabarzon, even if these areas are still under general community quarantine.
Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said that they are looking into the possibility of boosting the business operating capacity of certain areas rather than changing their quarantine levels.
The Trade chief explains that several labor-dependent sectors such as dine-in services of food establishments, barbershops, and salons have re-opened already, though at 30 percent operating capacity only, in areas under GCQ.
“For example, ‘yung 30 percent pinag-aaralan kung pwede ma-increase na to 40 percent or 50 percent,” Lopez added.
Furthermore, he stressed that barbershops and salons account for about 400,000 workers while there are about 1.7 million workers in restaurants, so they must resume operations earlier.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also shares the same sentiment that Metro Manila and Calabarzon should be placed under the more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as quickly as possible, to boost the country’s economy.
According to him, about 60 to 67 percent of the Philippine economy is based in these areas, and people should start working.
He added that the country started the year with strong economic fundamentals. “It was supposed to be an upper-middle-income country by this year before COVID-19, but we won’t make it,” Dominguez added.
Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ)
Establishments such as gyms and cinemas are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity under MGCQ. Likewise, foreign business travelers can also enter the country once restrictions are downgraded.
Lopez said that 95 percent of the sectors are already open under MGCQ and GCQ, adding that shifting Metro Manila and Calabarzon to MGCQ will open up the remaining 5 percent.