Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez will formally ask the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to allow kids as young as 10 years old to go out of their homes to further boost economic activities as the local economy still continues to fall behind despite the opening of most sectors.
The current age cap for children allowed outside of their homes is 15 years old. Lopez said he was asked during meetings with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and other government agencies why the economy has remained lethargic even with the opening of most sectors.
“Yes, the economy has improved, but not yet at pre-pandemic level, ibang iba pa rin,” he said.
Thus, he continued to push for some considerations of other factors to boost the economy.
Even during the Christmas season, he said, sales of micro small and medium enterprises still remained weak because of the restrictions on movement.
As statistics on COVID cases are improving, he said, one factor to boost economic activities is to further lower the allowable age of kids to go out, Lopez said.
He recalled that the limit used to be 21 but was lowered to 18 years old, which was further relaxed to the current 15 years old.
This time, he said, it would be good to allow the 10 years old to go out to malls with their parents.
“We will push this in the next IATF meeting for consideration,” he said adding that the only concern in the further lowering of age is the statistics of COVID cases in the first three weeks of January.
Once the data comes in, Lopez said it is most likely that IATF will adopt his proposal to further lower the age limit.
Lopez noted that consumption is increased 30 to 50 percent by family activities of kids and parents.
Ten-year olds are already in that stage where they behave well, he said.
In addition, Lopez said that with the gradual and safe reopening, the virus transmission has not really worsened and is well under control.
He further said that even if the government lowers the age limit, but public transportation is still limited this would still discourage parents from bringing their kids outside or to the malls.
He, however, said that the Department of Transportation is looking at augmenting more buses and jeepneys on the road.