A "happy Christmas" may be attainable for Metro Manila residents this year after all.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion is optimistic in this regard, thanks to the downtrend in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“The downward trend we are experiencing right now is a result of last month’s stricter lockdown. We had proposed the immediate strict implementation weeks ago,” Concepcion said in a statement Tuesday, Sept. 21.
The move has allowed the NCR to reopen businesses, albeit on a limited scale, near the fourth quarter of the year which is traditionally the peak season.
This downtrend in cases was reported by Prof. Guido David of OCTA Research during the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City.
“The reproduction number in the NCR has also decreased to about 1.11. This confirms that it’s close to a downward trend,” said David, adding that some local government units (LGUs) have recorded a negative growth rate in the number of COVID-19 cases.
“As we noted, protecting the fourth quarter is very important and I think with the downtrend that we’re starting to see, this is now becoming reality. The numbers are close to what Go Negosyo predicted.” said Dr. David.
Concepcion, for his part, welcomed David’s pronouncement, hoping that the downward trajectory would continue in October, where the economy is expected to get revitalized due to the Christmas season.
“Hopefully that would be just in time for October so that we can open up the economy even further,” said Concepcion, who is pushing for the reopening of 30 to 50 percent of the economy to help ramp up economic activity leading to Christmas time. Currently, only 10 percent of the economy has reopened.
The alternative is grim, as he echoed the National Economic Development Authority's (NEDA) warning that the economy would lose trillions of pesos as an after effect of the pandemic.
The Go Negosyo founder reiterated his call to the national government to listen to the private sector when it comes to the opening of the economy. A stronger economy means the public sector would have better capabilities when it comes to purchasing vaccines for their workers.
“We are responsible people. We know how to maneuver. We’re not going to open the economy recklessly,” he further said, noting that the private sector even supported OCTA’s call for a two-week lockdown despite the opposition of some sectors.
Concepcion has been calling on the government to implement the "Bakuna Bubble" strategy where fully vaccinated individuals are allowed more mobility compared to their unvaccinated counterparts. He said the would help boost the economy and provide employment for many Filipinos.
More than 1,000 business owners and franchisees have backed Concepcion’s suggestion, and said that the government should look into the possibility of providing incentives to fully vaccinated people, including easing of guidelines.