Easing Metro Manila quarantine crucial for PH to achieve growth target: NEDA


Posted at May 03 2021 09:26 AM | Updated as of May 03 2021 09:56 AM

Since the government reimposed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), indigent residents in Metro Manila and nearby provinces had no choice but to wait for the government's cash dole-out under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) for their daily needs. April 9, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Metro Manila must ease its community quarantine status for the Philippines to achieve its economic growth target this year, the country's socioeconomic planning chief said Monday.

Economic managers had projected 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent growth in 2021 and 8 to 10 percent growth in 2022, after the country's gross domestic product contracted by 9.6 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The capital region, home to a tenth of the country's population, needs to "move out" of modified enhanced community quarantine by the middle or end of May, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua.

"We can’t be in MECQ for the entire year. We have to use these 2 months very wisely that we are in this bubble to enhance our PIDTR (Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate) strategy so that we can open the economy as soon as we can," he told ANC's Headstart.

"We have to move out of MECQ, we have to go to GCQ and even better. A big part of that, 95 percent is our own personal behavior and everyone knows already what to do."

The country can achieve its growth target if it opens the economy "as safely as we can and not be totally risk-averse," if it accelerates its implementation of recovery packages, and if it deploys its vaccination program "as fast" as possible, Chua said.

"The biggest priority right now is to get vaccination implemented as quick as possible. We are constrained not by our finances but by the global supply," he said.

"Once supply comes we have to be ready to deliver them as soon as we can."

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