July 30, 2021
ABS - CBN News
MANILA - The economy could lose P105 billion for each week Metro Manila is under hard lockdown, based on the latest estimate of the National Economic and Development Authority released Friday.
The imposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will also increase the number of poor people by up to 177,000 and the unemployed by 444,000, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Kendrick Chua said in a statement.
This, after the country's coronavirus task force announced that President Rodrigo Duterte approved a recommendation to place Metro Manila under ECQ from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20 to arrest the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant.
A hard lockdown limits movements to only authorized individuals and essentials and further reduces operational capacity of transport and businesses, resulting in earnings and job losses.
The foreseen losses can be partially reversed if the lockdown period will be used to accelerate the vaccination drive in high-risk areas, Chua said.
This way, the ECQ will be an investment to pave the way for recovery once the new COVID-19 Delta variant is contained, he said.
Experts, however, said the country's vaccination drive remains "sluggish."
Chua said aid would mitigate the impact of the new round of ECQ to Filipinos.
"I understand there is cash aid in ECQ areas," Chua said, adding that the finance and budget departments are responsible for cash aid updates.
The Philippines aims to inoculate 50 to 70 percent of its over 100 million population by the end of the year. Only 7.8 million people have been fully vaccinated as of July 30.
Chua earlier said the COVID-19 pandemic has slightly slowed down the gains of the government when it comes to its poverty reduction campaign.
Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo in November said the Philippines incurred approximately P3.3 to 3.4 trillion in economic damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.