DTI appeals to limit ECQ duration to 1 week only

Published March 29, 2021, 5:25 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Department of Trade and Industry has appealed that the one-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) stay within the March 29-April 4 period, stressing more companies and workers are in dire need to get back to their livelihood and business amid high unemployment in the country. 

DTI Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte said this when asked if employers and businesses can still afford a one week closure or minimal operation at the Laging Handa Public briefing.

Vizmonte said the DTI hopes that the National Capital Region or NCR Plus bubble ECQ  (Metro Manila and neighboring provinces Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan) be limited to the Holy Week period only as he stressed that there are lots Filipinos with no work even during the general community quarantine (GCQ), a more relaxed quarantine status. The ECQ is the most stringent quarantine or lockdown. 

Because of the high unemployment in the country, Vizmonte said that DTI has appealed to limit the  ECQ period to one week only to enable workers and businesses to get back to their businesses and livelihood and workers earn income again.

Unlike the GCQ status, more establishments cannot open their operations during the ECQ period thus affecting more workers. Only essential activities are allowed to operate under the ECQ. 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is preparing some relief provisions to affected constituents while the micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are offered interest free and collateral-free loans of up to P100,000 through the CARES Program of the SB Corp., the micro financing arm of the government.

In terms of food supply, Vizmonte said that DTI has made sure that the Inter Agency Task Force allows unhampered 100 percent operations of food suppliers and food manufacturers/processors to ensure that the shelves at grocery stores and supermarkets are filled up.

Producers of essential products, particularly hygiene, and daily needs and pharma,  construction and those in export industries are allowed 100 percent capacity.

Also allowed to operate are essential activities like water refilling supplies,  food commissaries, eateries but limited to delivery services, public and private financial providers that provide social amelioration channels, IT-business process management firms, and export-oriented firms. 

Media establishments are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. Also allowed to operate with skeletal workforce are dental and optometry clinics, veterinary, bank transfers pawnshops,  armored vehicles, and credit cooperatives and many more.

The capital markets, banks, health insurance providers, energy and power firms, telcos, and Internet service providers, cable and TV, airline, aircraft maintenance, funeral and embalming services, religious services (priests, rabbis and pastors), printing establishments allowed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, security personnel,  repair maintenance of machineries, and real estate activities limited to leasing only.