Alert Level 1 change could add P11B to economy

SOCIOECONOMIC Planning Secretary Karl Chua

Updated at 00:15

SOCIO-ECONOMIC Planning Secretary Karl Chua estimates that moving the National Capital Region (NCR) to Alert Level 1 next month could add 11.2 billion pesos to the economy.

“If we continue to work together and see Alert Level 1, hopefully by next month, we would have added 11.2 billion pesos in gross value added per week in the NCR Plus area and reduced the number unemployment of 191,000,” Chua said. said in a virtual forum hosted by the Management Association of the Philippines.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2 along with Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Batanes, Biliran, Southern Leyte and Basilan.

Chua said downgrading from Alert Level 3 would bring in 3 billion pesos a week and reduce the number of unemployed by 51,000.

He said scaling up immunization, improving health care capacity and returning to face-to-face teaching will help the country recover faster from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think the stage is now set for us to grow and accelerate to 7-9% in 2022,” he said.

He stressed the need to continue the reforms adopted under the Duterte administration to allow the economy to grow in the coming years.

“I think we have a very good experience of managing the economy over three administrations, and that should continue, it should not be reversed. The prudent discipline, the management of fiscal resources should continue,” he said. -he declares.

“And number two, we also have a track record of more than six administrations to liberalize key industries, whether in rice, utilities, telecommunications, airlines, etc. Even if they are slow to happen, they have happened over time and it shouldn’t Otherwise you will have, I think, more difficult issues to deal with, ”he added.

Some of the key measures enacted under the Duterte administration include tax reforms, the rice pricing law, and amendments to the retail trade liberalization law.

A bill amending the Public Utilities Act, which is expected to attract more foreign investment, is also to be signed by President Duterte.

The World Bank’s senior economist, Rong Qian, agreed that these reforms should be continued by the next administration.

“I would just add that the Philippines has grown rapidly over the past 15 to 20 years and a lot of that is productivity growth. As we know from global experience , productivity growth tends to slow if there are no further reforms. [growth]we must implement structural reforms… and continue the reforms that have been started [by] this government,” Qian said.

Brain Trust Inc. President and Ateneo de Manila University Professor Cielito Habito called on the government to expand and improve access to health services, strengthen food systems to achieve food security and mobilize a new multisectoral commission for education, Habito said.

“The next president will need to be fortified with good leadership qualities to overcome challenges,” he said.


With daily Covid-19 cases expected to drop to 1,000 a day by the end of this month, Presidential Entrepreneurship Advisor Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3e said it might be time to remove the alert level system.

In a statement on Thursday, Concepcion said changing the public mindset from a constant state of fear to a state of preparedness is important for the country’s transition.

“It’s the Philippines’ long game to live with Covid. I think Filipinos want to move on. Nobody wants to stay in a pandemic mindset and live in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety. We have to make a clear transition from fear to being hopeful,” he said.

Concepcion said there are currently no new variants of concern and hospital admissions for Covid-19 are down.

“It is no exaggeration to believe that the state of public health emergency can be lifted, and with it the alert level systems,” he said.

“It would be a great way for the administration to end its term. Ending on a high note, with a protected population and a healthy economy is a legacy that any sitting president would be happy to have,” he said. .

Concepcion agreed with Chua that Metro Manila is ready to move to Alert Level 1.

He cited a projection by research group OCTA that daily infections will drop to 1,000 to 2,000 by the end of February.

“We need to move from crisis mode to recovery mode,” said the founder of Go Negosyo. “It matters if Filipinos want to help rebuild our country by engaging in economic activity like going to the shops, dining out, traveling or returning to work.”

“OCTA Research forecasts smooth sailing for the next six months, so we should be sailing while the sun is shining. Let’s build enough momentum to drive growth in the first half,” Concepcion said.

On the advice of OCTA, the private sector proposed the two-week lockdown in August 2021.

The lockdown successfully stemmed a surge and saved crucial fourth quarter economic activity.

From 26,238 cases in September, infections fell to triple-digit numbers in December, helping the country post better-than-expected GDP growth of 7.7 in the fourth quarter.

Concepcion said a move to Alert Level 1 would spur economic recovery, adding that areas with high vaccination rates can implement a no-alert level status while maintaining minimum health protocols such as wearing of face masks.

“Alert Level 1 should now be called the ‘new normal’. Areas with high vaccination rates of 70-90% should be eligible for this classification,” Concepcion said.

“Instead of restrictions, impose agreed minimum protocols for public health and safety. This will give the country an opportunity to see how it fares with just those protocols in place,” he added.

Concepcion said vaccination cards should continue to be required in indoor commercial establishments to reduce the risk of exposing unvaccinated people and encourage them to get vaccinated.

He said the government needs to set the timing for the booster shots because immunity will eventually wane and there are thousands of vaccines that are expiring.

“Give booster shots alongside ongoing vaccinations, and on a staggered, first shot, first booster basis to protect those with waning immunity,” he added.

Concepcion has also pushed for face-to-face classes to open by June, but limited to fully vaccinated students.

“This will have a multiplier effect on economic activity,” he said, adding that “a return of employees to workplaces will also help stimulate economic activity in transport, food and retail”.

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