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Chua: MGCQ nationwide resume 95% of economy

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MANILA, Philippines – Up to 95 percent of the economy will resume jobs and provide income once all the Philippines is placed under a uniform and less stringent than its Covid-19 quarantine levels, which the chief economist of governments has been pushing between a protracted pandemic and the recession created.

Mandatory Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning Karl Kendrick Chua said in a text message on Sunday that the imposition of a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) across the country would reverse almost all supply-side economic activities, which meant producing more goods and providing customers with a wider range of services.

If President Duterte approves this proposal pushed by the economic team to recover from the pandemic-induced recession, the nationwide MGCQ will be closer to firms and industries at pre-pandemic production levels before the government halted 75 percent of economy at the start of the longest and tightest blockade Covid-19 in the region.

As a result of the expanded community quarantine (ECQ) imposed from mid-March to May last year, the Philippines fell into its first recession or two quarters of gross domestic product (GDP) decline from year to year since 1991. And while most of the country, particularly the business and financial center Metro Manila, remained under strict quarantine, the recession lasted for all four quarters of 2020, shrinking GDP by 9.5 per cent. post-war.

But for Chua, who heads the state planning agency National Economy and Development Authority (Neda), further opening up the output side of the economy would not be enough to start GDP growth.

It depends, of course, whether there are enough transport and demand factors, especially age relaxation to support this, Chua said, referring to their proposal to allow people aged five to 70 to dine out or shop at malls. trading.

Current restrictions allowed only those between the ages of 15 and 65 to leave their homes.

Chua had said children were a major driver of pre-pandemic consumption, as most families dined out or went shopping with children in tow.

That is why our proposal is a package: MCGQ, more public transport and lower age allowed to go out, Chua said.

Citing Neda’s estimates, Chua said that currently, the three sectors with the most significant constraints were education, which had zero face-to-face classes; restaurants, which had only 50 percent of the allowed capacity; and transportation, which can serve only 50-75 percent of demand.

Chua had already acknowledged that GDP is likely to shrink again in the first quarter of 2021 as a result of the slow start to reopening the economy.

As such, Chua told President Rodrigo Duterte last week that a less stringent MGCQ subject to minimum health standards to avoid the spread of the deadly coronavirus would address the high incidence of hunger and unemployment among households in areas where many economic activities were still banned.

On the other hand, Chua had highlighted polls showing that hunger and unemployment fell rapidly especially in areas outside Metro Manila which were already under the MGCQ towards the end of 2020.

Chua had said that since polls showed that over nine out of 10 Filipinos adhered to prescribed measures such as wearing face masks and shields, frequent hand washing, and social distancing, the spread of Covid-19 would be manageable, though the hidden risks have recently emerged more contagious variants of the virus.

Duterte is expected to make a decision on Chua’s recommendation this week.

/ MUF

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