DTI shuns extension of 'NCR Plus' bubble


Posted at Mar 26 2021 03:22 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2021 12:03 AM

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The Department of Trade and Industry on Friday said it hoped against the extension of tighter restrictions in Metro Manila and four surrounding provinces beyond April 4, despite researchers' estimates that a surge of COVID-19 infections might take more time before abating. 

The DTI is "balancing economy and health," said its Undersecretary Ruth Castelo. 

"Kung tatanungin mo ang DTI, gusto na sana natin na maipa-open [the economy] na ulit sa April 5," she said in a televised public briefing. 

(If you ask DTI, we want the economy to reopen on April 5.)

Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal—which government calls NCR Plus — imposed tighter restrictions for 2 weeks to curb an uptick in coronavirus infections. 

The curbs effective until April 4 include night curfews, a ban on some gatherings, and the closure or limited operations of some businesses. 

"We appeal to everyone, lahat tayo sama-sama, tulung-tulong na mapababa na natin iyong surge para makapag-open talaga tayo tuloy-tuloy na on April 5," said Casteo. 

(We appeal to everyone, all of us together, should help curb the surge so that we could open continuously on April 5.)

Independent research group OCTA has projected that it could take until mid-April before COVID-19 cases decline, following the creation of the NCR Plus bubble. 

The Philippines has recorded 693,048 COVID-19 cases, the second highest in Southeast Asia.