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Friday, April 12, 2024

Almost 16 million workers affected by MECQ, says Neda chief 

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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua estimates around 15.647 million workers in the country are affected by the imposition of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). 

While there are no more areas under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) at this point, Chua said more than half or 54 percent of the Philippine economy is under MECQ. 

However, Chua pointed out that the weekly economic loss was already reduced by half to around P73 billion following the shift to MECQ from a staggering P144 billion under ECQ in National Capital Region Plus. 

“Fortunately, we are now shifting to an MECQ period. We are able to reduce the cost by half to around 73 billion, also reduce the impact of the poor and the number of unemployed also by around half. So we will continue to strike this balance as we review the economic and health data to support our recovery, our safe recovery,” Chua said in a keynote speech during the Department of Trade and Industry Manufacturing Summit 2021. 

In a separate speech during the House hearing on the proposed 2022 national budget, Chua said the shift to MECQ also enabled them to reduce the number of poor people to 82,000 to 123,000 and the number of workers that may be affected to 310,000 from 607,000 unemployed previously under ECQ. 

In the same budget hearing, Chua also said the economy needs to grow by no less than 10 percent in 2022 to return to its pre-pandemic level. 

“Unfortunately because our growth rate in 2021 has been reduced because of the imposition of the recent ECQ and the delta variant risks, we may not hit the pre-pandemic level in late 2022. So I would think if we want to hit in 2022, we would have to grow slightly higher by 9 percent so maybe 10 percent. If not, we will hit it in early 2023,” Chua said.

However, Chua clarified that he still believes a 10 percent growth for the economy in 2022 is still “attainable” if the country manages to restore consumer and business confidence through accelerating its vaccination program to reopen the economy and to implement granular lockdowns instead of massive lockdowns. 

Pressed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on why the economic managers adopted a growth assumption of 7 to 9 percent for 2022 if Chua believes that a 10 percent growth is attainable in 2022, Chua said they have learned to be “more conservative” since there are many uncertainties, including the risks that could be posed by new COVID-19 variants. 

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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