IT’S kind of really sad seeing many establishments folding up because of the pandemic. Some of them have big names in the food industry one would think they are unsinkable.
This global health crisis has ravaged enterprises big and small, rendering millions of people jobless.
Despite this, Filipinos don’t give up. As resilient men and women, we continue to fight especially when hope presents itself.
After the worrisome reports on business closures, state authorities said the number of shops that shut down due to community quarantine restrictions has declined as the government gradually reopened economic activities.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez estimated that eight percent of enterprises remain closed as the NCR Plus — National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal — is under general community quarantine.
The number of businesses that stopped their operations were lower from 16 percent when NCR Plus was reverted to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in March due to the surge of coronavirus disease 2019 cases.
When the government relaxed lockdown measures to modified ECQ, the number of enterprises that remained closed went down to 12 percent. The current numbers were better than last year when ECQ was first imposed.
Businesses that halted their operations then were at 38 percent, he added.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) aims to gradually reopen economic activities to bring back jobs at the same time ensuring there will be no surge again in COVID-19 cases.
We expect to augment, increase the operating capacity moving forward, Lopez said.
Lopez also encouraged economic frontliners, who are included in the A4 priority group for vaccination, to get their jabs to prevent severe COVID-19 cases that lead to hospitalization and/or death.
He said the DTI is also pushing for the expansion of the definition of A4 list to get more jobs back in the labor market.
Earlier, the top trade official said 1.5 million jobs were lost when the NCR Plus was reverted to ECQ.
From the said number, Lopez said 500,000 jobs were restored during MECQ and additional 200,000 to 300,000 jobs were brought back in the labor market during the GCQ.
He added the two-week ECQ shed P180 billion in the gross domestic product and another P120 billion during the two-week MECQ.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain nations across the world.
Economies, jobs, education and health system remain disrupted. Vulnerable sectors, especially those in developing countries like the Philippines, are entrenched deeper in poverty.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Philippines has suffered its worst economic contraction since World War II with a Gross Domestic Product growth of negative 9.5% by end of 2020.
The nation’s total outstanding debt also climbed 3.5% month-on-month to P10.77 trillion.
The dire situation has enabled strengthened alliances, as nations on the mend from the pandemic extend support to struggling nations.
One friend that came to the immediate aid of the Philippines is its Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific neighbor, Australia.
Australia and the Philippines celebrate 75 years of diplomatic ties this year since the establishment of the Australian Consulate General in Manila.
Through the decades, Australia has been a long-standing partner of the Philippines to address its development challenges in the areas of basic education, training and human resource development, public financial management, health, rural and community development, governance, assistance to vulnerable groups, infrastructure, and support to the Mindanao peace and development process.
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