Add’l household income recovery seen under GCQ

Published May 20, 2021, 4:32 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

At least half of the estimated P30-billion household income loss in National Capital Region (NCR) Plus is expected to be recovered during the two-week general community quarantine (GCQ), Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. 

At the Laging Handa briefing, Lopez said that based on the computation by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) P60 billion in household income were lost during the recent ECQ period. When the quarantine restriction was lowered to modified ECQ, the losses should have been reduced by half or by P30 billion.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO FILE PHOTO)

With the further easing of restrictions to GCQ up to May 30 this year, Lopez expects the remaining P30 billion household income losses to be wiped. But since the current GCQ is not the normal GCQ, Lopez said the reduction in household income losses could be limited to somewhere in the middle. 

This is because while the Inter Agency Task Force has brought down the quarantine level in the NCR Plus bubble to GCQ, it also qualified that the GCQ is accompanied with heightened restrictions because of the continuing high number of COVID cases in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces. 

This means that the economy in the NCR Plus was only opened a little bit.  Restaurants are allowed to accept dine-in services already but at  20 percent capacity only from 10 percent, while personal care services at 30 percent from 20 percent. 

Other economic sectors are such as the entertainment, arcades, MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions), gyms and indoor contact sports are still closed.

“Definitely, the movement to GCQ with heightened restrictions will help on the way back to recovery,” he said citing more people are going back to work and help alleviate poverty and hunger brought about

by the pandemic.

In terms of compliance, Lopez said that establishments have also been following the health and safety protocols and are being monitored by different government agencies. 

To ensure safe reopening, there is also an ongoing turnover of the digital contact tracing app to the Department of Interior and Local Government for integration with the Stay Safe App. Metro Manila cities have already integrated their systems while the local government units in the provinces are still completing the integration of their digital contact tracing with the Stay Safe App.

The trade chief also reported that listing for the A4 Priority List or the economic frontliners is ongoing. He urged all workers to register for vaccination. 

He cited proposals like the restaurant groups, which mulled to give different levels of discounts to encourage people to get inoculated, but he stressed that discounts should not be the main benefit but the overall health a vaccine can give to a person. He also urged workers not to be choosy when it comes to vaccine brands and consider the incentives given by private establishments a mere “by the way.”