The domestic economy is expected to lose a staggering P300 billion from the month-long hard lockdown implemented by the government in the National Capital Region and neighboring provinces (NCR Plus bubble), according to Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. 

With that, Lopez said his agency would be seeking for A P10 billion allocation from the proposed new economic stimulus Bayanihan 3 as direct subsidies to micro enterprises, which maybe granted P3,000 to P5,000 as  capital for their livelihood projects.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO FILE PHOTO)

Of the P300 billion estimated economic loss, Lopez said the economy was estimated to have lost P180 billion in gross domestic product during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and P120 billion during the ongoing modified ECQ, which is expected to last for only for only two weeks or until end this month, April 30. 

Lopez explained that the earlier P83 billion losses cited by Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua referred only to income and wages, but the impact of the economy in terms of GSP is actually higher at P180 billion. 

This is because 50 percent of establishments were closed during the ECQ period affecting a total of 1.5 million workers. 

In addition, he said the ongoing MECQ, which will hopefully end on April 30, is estimated to add another P120 billion loss to the country’s GDP. This is lower than the P180 billion GDP loss in the two-week ECQ as the number of establishments that remained closed in the NCR Plus bubble have been reduced to 30 percent. 

“Based on an average improvement of around 30 percent in jobs and firms operating, in MECQ, compared to ECQ, the rough estimate of GDP loss during MECQ can be around P120-billion,” the DTI chief said. 

(Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

In terms of jobs, only 500,000 workers are able to return to work during the MECQ but the majority of 1 million are still out of work because there are still restrictions for some activities dine-in restaurants and the personal services establishments, both labor-intensive sectors.

Dine-in restaurants are expected to employ roughly 2 million and the personal services such as salons and spas, 1 million workers. 

He expressed hopes that the MECQ will be lifted by April 30, although the DTI chief acknowledged that this will largely hinge on the improvement in healthcare system like higher ICU bed capacities in hospitals, lower COVID cases and better contact tracing. If these goals are not met, he said the MECQ in the NCR Plus bubble might be extended to May 15 this year. 

As such, Lopez said the DTI supports any economic stimulus program that Congress will come up to heal hunger and poverty due to the pandemic.

Source: Manila Bulletin (