MANILA, Philippines – Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said Wednesday that the economy cannot afford another MECQ.
In a virtual presser, Roque stated the administration’s sentiments on the matted.
“Now, I would be lying if I will say that this two-week MECQ will not have a negative impact, because 67 percent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is from Metro Manila and Region IV-A, including Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, which are now under lockdown,” Roque said.
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“We are hoping this will just be two weeks since this is the recommendation of our frontliners, a brief timeout. Right now, two weeks of MECQ won’t affect (the country that much),” the spokesman added.
Last Sunday, President Duterte declared MECQ over Metro Manila and nearby provinces. This is after medical frontliners requested for a “timeout” after several months of pandemic.
Data also showed that the relaxing of quarantine spiked the number of COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, Roque stressed that the lockdowns have already induced contraction within the economy. This is despite economic planners not releasing the data on the GDP yet.
“The projection is our GDP growth or decline will be made public by the economic cluster this Thursday. Even if we have not seen it yet, we know that there was a serious impact on our economy during the second quarter when we imposed a lockdown of the economy,” he said.
Economy cannot afford another MECQ, but current tradeoffs are worthy
Meanwhile economists have mentioned that the 15-day lockdown may cost the economy some P180 billion.
However, Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda supports the decision of the president to grant the plea of health workers.
“Though we stand to lose P12 billion per day, I support the shift from GCQ to MECQ for NCR and others, given the recent spikes in new COVID cases,” Quimbo added.
“Our medical frontliners are in the best position to assess whether our health care system still has the capacity to care for our increasing number of COVID patients,” she added.
The lawmaker also stressed, “When one’s family is safe, the community is safe and the nation is safe, then our economy can move forward and each worker can begin to earn a living again.”
Salceda added, “We have seen that the supposed ‘tradeoff’ between public health and the economy is superfluous. These are correlated outcomes, with the abatement of the crisis being the leading determinant of market confidence.”