The Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) has lauded the government’s decision that lowered Metro Manila’s quarantine status to a more relaxed alert level.

In a statement, Francisco Ed Lim, FINEX president said the National Capital Region’s (NCR) shift to Alert Level 2 would provide a much needed boost to the struggling economy.

Lim added that Metro Manila’s departure from restricter Alert Level 2 is “a truly positive news” considering that the region accounts for more than 30 percent of the country’s economy, or gross domestic product (GDP).

“Even more meaningfully, it will help restore jobs and income to our countrymen and enable them and their families to enjoy the Christmas Season,” Lim said.

The National Economic and Development Authority earlier said the prolonged community quarantine restrictions took a heavier toll on workers as the number of jobless Filipinos reached 4.25 million in September, resulting in an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.

The latest jobless rate is the highest since the 8.7 percent registered in January 2021. This is also higher than the 8.1 percent recorded in August.

Last Nov. 4, the Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the de-escalation of the NCR’s alert level status starting Nov. 5 to 21, 2021.

The private sector has been clamoring for a shift in Metro Manila’s alert level.

Under Alert Level 2, indoor venues ca operate a maximum of 50 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18, even if unvaccinated. Outdoor venues, meanwhile, are allowed to accept up to 70 percent of their capacity.

“We note that the guidelines mostly limit the benefit of the declaration to the fully vaccinated. In this light, we are hopeful that the government continues its efforts to vaccinate as many of our people at the soonest possible time,” Lim said.

Currently, more than 61 million COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered nationwide. In Metro Manila, at least 88 percent of the targeted residents are fully vaccinated.

“We strongly urge our countrymen to get themselves vaccinated not only for their families sake but also for the country’s sake,” Lim said.

“We likewise urge our people to continue observing the health protocols put in place by the government. This is a perfect time to show that the spirit of Christmas is truly in our hearts,” he concluded.###

Source: Manila Bulletin (