Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez underscored the need to open up more sectors of the economy in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified GCQ and allow them to operate at full capacity in order to re-stimulate the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since this pandemic started, what we have been pushing for is that, as much as possible, we can keep the same enforcement, we can keep the minimum health standard, but please, after six months, we should reopen already the remaining sectors. That’s my appeal,” Lopez said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) proposed budget for 2021.
While he acknowledged that his appeal would not be popular among health workers, Lopez said the DTI is trying to guarantee the enforcement of strict and minimum health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“I believe we can safely reopen it. It’s been six months and the virus will not go away,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the DTI is looking at the growing number of joblessness, poverty, and hunger incidence in the country as the reason why the agency is appealing for businesses in Metro Manila to reopen at full capacity.
He said doing so would help regenerate employment as it would give other industries a chance to operate again, especially if those sectors operating in a 50 percent capacity be allowed to reach even 100 percent.
“We are appealing. It may not be MGCQ, though the numbers and statistics are improving. But we will be happy with the GCQ provided we open up more of these sectors,” he said.
Among the sectors DTI is appealing to be reopened include legal and accounting, management and consultancy, architecture and engineering, science and research, advertising and marketing, publishing, film, music, as well as production.