MECQ ‘one step back’ for economic recovery—DOF

Published August 3, 2020, 11:48 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The government’s reimposition of a stricter lockdown over Metro Manila and nearby provinces is “one step back” for the country’s economic recovery, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Monday.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (DOF photo / Howard Felipe)
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III
(DOF photo / Howard Felipe / File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the return of the country’s major economic hubs under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) would take a toll on the drivers of economic rebound in the near-term.

But Dominguez, the Duterte administration’s chief economic manager, said that if the reimposed strict lockdown measures are correctly done, it will have a favorable impact on the nation’s long-term economic prospects.

“In the short run, the return to MECQ may negatively affect livelihoods, consumer demand and production. However, if the time is used to boost all our medical resources and prevent further spread of the virus, then the MECQ will be positive for the long haul,” Dominguez said.

As this is a new virus, Dominguez explained that nations, including the Philippines, are continuously learning to adapt to the challenges posed by the new and uncertain environment induced by coronavirus.

“The whole world is learning how to dance with this virus: two steps forward and one step back,” Dominguez said.

Earlier, Dominguez pushed for a shift of Metro Manila and Calabarzon—accounting for about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)—“as quickly as possible” to the most lenient quarantine status to kickstart the economy.

“We have to face the new reality. The reality today is that the virus is not going to go away and we will have to live with it for a long period of time,” Dominguez had said.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua also said the economic impact of the quarantine measures in country is “more severe than expected.”

“What we are seeing actually from the latest data in April and May is that the impact of the ECQ was more severe than expected and you can see that in the trade data, in the manufacturing volume of production data, and also in employment,” Chua said.