If given a choice, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he would side with the Metro Manila mayors who would elect to keep cinemas closed, at least for now.
“Yung sa sinehan (About the cinemas), probably I can join some of the Metro Manila mayors na huwag muna yung sinehan (who want to keep the cinemas closed for now),” Bello said in an interview Saturday afternoon, Feb. 20 on Dobol B sa News TV.
According to the labor chief, reopening movie houses amid the coronavirus disease won’t have a significant economic impact anyway.
“Kasi ano naman yan eh, wala pa naman masyadong ano, epekto sa employment at tsaka sa economy. Hindi mabigat ang epekto sa ating business (It’s because that won’t have much effect on employment and the economy. The effect on business won’t be that significant),” Bello claimed.
“Yung mga important businesses, yung mga malls, restaurants, hotels–kailangan nating buhayin yan. Ang daming employees dyan. Yung transportation din (The important businesses, the malls, restaurants, and hotels–we need to revive those. There are a lot of employees there. Also transportation),” he said.
Unemployment rate surged to 17.7 percent for the second quarter of 2020 as parts of the country was placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)–the strictest lockdown protocol.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said last week that the question on whether or not cinemas should be reopened under the current, less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ) was “very contentious” among the 17 mayors of Metro Manila.
The sectors that oppose the reopening of cinemas in the metropolis cite the possible spread of the new coronavirus among movie-goers, who must stay in an enclosed space with limited ventilation for at least an hour and a half.
The 17 mayors comprise the Metro Manila Council, the policy-making body of the MMDA.