MANILA – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said the shift of the National Capital Region (NCR) to looser quarantine restrictions with granular lockdowns in place is a “good step forward” for the economy.
Malacañang on Monday announced Metro Manila will go on a general community quarantine (GCQ), the second-loosest lockdown level, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 8 until the end of the month.
The government will also be implementing a localized lockdown scheme, wherein specific areas could be placed under different alert levels. The alert level for each city and municipality will be decided by the Department of Health, depending on factors such as hospital capacity and the number of cases.
ECOP president Sergio Ortiz Luis said the group has yet to see the new rules governing "granular lockdowns" but added that this is better than the full lockdowns implemented before.
“However you look at it, it’s a good step forward,” Ortiz-Luis said.
He said granular lockdowns will allow some Filipinos to work and provide for themselves and their families.
Ortiz-Luis added that the country must now learn to live with the novel coronavirus.
“Wala namang katapusan yang variant na yan. Meron pang Mu na pinag-uusapan ngayon eh nasa Delta tayo. Isipin mo nga dyan yung hirap ng kababayan natin,” he said on DZMM’s “Teleradyo.”
(There's no end to these variants. There's even the Mu (variant) that's being talked about while we're still with Delta. Think of how difficult it is for our countrymen.)
He stressed, however, that businesses must be opened up gradually. As malls are allowed to open, so should their tenants, Ortiz-Luis said. Alfresco dining may be allowed if dining inside enclosed spaces is still prohibited.
Barbershops, salons, and other businesses offering personal care services may be allowed to operate in a limited capacity.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has also said that he believes shifting to a granular lockdown is the "right approach" to revive the economy.
He said it is the right time to try new approaches in dealing with the pandemic, even as the country reached another record-high number of new COVID-19 cases.
As of Monday, the Philippines has a total of 2,103,331 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 34,337 deaths and 1,909,361 recoveries.