Malacañang said President Duterte understood that the decision of the government’s pandemic task force to reopen cinemas and other businesses in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) was necessary to help revive the economy.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) allowed the reopening and expansion of cinemas, video and interactive-game arcades, libraries, museums, and other businesses.
In an interview over Super Radyo DZBB, Roque said despite concerns of local government officials about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), President Duterte understood why the IATF made the decision.
“Naintindihan naman niya dahil talagang pinag-iisipan na rin ng Presidente kung paano talaga tayo makakabangon (He understood and he really is thinking about how we can recover),” he said.
“Lumalabas na sa buong mundo isa tayo sa pinakamabagal na makakabangon kasi nga parang napakahaba at napakatagal na noong ating lockdown na ipinatutupad (It appears that we’re one of the countries with the slowest economic recovery rate because of our long lockdown),” he added.
The Philippines has been in lockdown since the start of the pandemic on March 15 last year.
The World Bank predicted in September last year that the Philippines will only see economic growth bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of 2021.
However as vaccine availability draws near, Global financial giant Morgan Stanley said in November last year that the Philippines is in for a sharp rebound by the first quarter of 2021.
In the radio interview, Roque said the recovery of the Philippine economy is possible despite the ongoing pandemic because people now know to protect themselves if they want to make a living.
“Napapanahon na talaga dahil ang tingin ko naman naka-develop na ng disiplina ang mga Pilipino (It really is now the time because I think Filipinos have now developed discipline),” he said.
Almost 50 percent of businesses are allowed to reopen in areas under the GCQ while 75 percent of businesses are allowed to operate under the modified GCQ.