MANILA - Some 30 percent of businesses in the Philippines have closed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Department of Trade and Industry said Thursday.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency has yet to determine if the establishments were fully or temporarily closed due to the virus that shuttered businesses in Metro Manila for 11 weeks, leading to the first contraction of the Philippine economy in 22 years.
Around 20 percent are fully operating while 50 percent have partially reopened, Lopez said.
Of those who have partially resumed operations, the income of 90 percent were down, he added.
"Marami pa rin sigurong operating below breakeven, talagang palugi pero subalit sabi nga ng mga negosyanteng nakakausap namin, laban lang, wala tayong choice, talagang pagtulungan natin ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya," he said.
(Many are probably still operating below breakeven but businessmen we spoke to said we need to continue fighting, we have no choice but to help each other in reopening the economy.)
When Metro Manila began to reopen businesses in mid-May, the manufacturing index rose to 74 percent from 72 percent, while the purchasing managers index rose to 40 percent from 32 percent in April, Lopez said.
The purchasing managers index is a barometer of the manufacturing sector's overall health.
"Nung nagre-open nakikita natin na unti-unti ring bumabalik yung mga tao sa kanilang trabaho, nakita natin ang movement pataas," he said.
(When we reopened we saw workers returning to their jobs and we were moving up.)
"Parang na-hit natin yung pinakailalim at umaangat na tayo unti-unti so ngayon obserbahan na lang natin kung kailan tayo ay makakabalik dun sa pre-COVID volume natin kasi yun talaga ang big challenge."
(It's like we hit rock bottom and now we're moving upwards, so now we're observing when we can return to our pre-COVID volume because that really is the big challenge.)