Philippines: Economy to lose P200M – Lopez

RENEWED restrictions following a surge in Covid-19 cases could cost the Philippine economy around P200 million, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Monday.

The National Capital Region (NCR) has been placed under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15 as Covid-19 cases skyrocketed over the past week amid the holiday season.

“If I remember correctly, roughly P200 million is the anticipated likely loss, which was also the gain when we moved from Alert Level 3 to 2, so in effect we’re just basing on this number,” Lopez said during a briefing.

Under Alert Level 3, intrazonal travel will be subjected to restrictions set by local government units. Businesses will be allowed to operate at a maximum of 30 percent indoor capacity although Lopez said this would be higher given the NCR’s high vaccination rate.

Between 100,000 to 200,000 jobs will be affected by the higher alert level, the Trade chief continued.

Still, “Alert Level 3 will have no substantial effect” as there was also just “a little improvement” when this was earlier relaxed, he claimed.

Lopez said that because over 70 percent of the NCR’s population is already vaccinated, establishments will be allowed an additional 20 percent in operating capacity, which means a total indoor capacity of 50 percent, or 60 percent if they have a safety seal.

However, certain establishments may not be allowed to operate under Alert Level 3, particularly those that would entail closer contact.

“60 percent is a good allowance for operating capacity. What’s wonderful about the government’s current alert level system is that it allows all businesses to continue to operate except for some which includes, fun fairs, gaming establishments, and indoor entertainments,” he said.