MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry said that while the new COVID-19 lockdown will prevent an "uncontrollable" surge in cases, it will also have a drastic effect on businesses and the economy.
Imposing another round of enhanced community quarantine, the strictest of four lockdown levels, will also delay economic recovery, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in his speech during a forum for small businesses.
"We know that the economy and MSMEs cannot bear another lockdown as this could raise closures again. We were against it. But the new set of data shown to us last Thursday were a concern," Lopez said.
Metro Manila will be under lockdown from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20 due to the rising cases of COVID-19, and the arrival of the more contagious Delta variant.
"By imposing this ECQ, we can remove the possibility of an uncontrollable surge like what happened in our neighboring countries that claimed thousands of lives," he added.
Lopez however assured that the dominant portion of the production sector, including agriculture, industry and services, will continue to operate to maintain jobs and income.
Continued operations will also ensure the supply of basic goods and services, he said.
In 2020, the lockdown resulted in the shut down of at least 40 percent of businesses, Lopez said. This improved to 4 percent in February 2021, but the figure again rose to 16 percent during last March's lockdown. In July, shuttered businesses were around to 8 to 10 percent, he said.
Meanwhile, Lopez said that despite COVID-19 restrictions, the government has seen a surge in businesses registrations during the pandemic.
"What we are seeing is that while there are businesses closing down, a lot of new businesses are being put up. We are seeing more entrepreneurial Filipinos and these are the types who are registering their businesses, those professionalizing their businesses," Lopez said.
Business registrations rose to 1.7 million in 2020 and 1.9 million in 2021 from 900,000 in 2015, Lopez said.
In a separate interview, Lopez said there would be no new SRP (suggested retail price) bulletin and that prices of basic goods would "remain on status quo" during the lockdown.
The agency also advised consumers to refrain from panic-buying since there is enough supply for everyone.