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'We Have to Really Open the Economy More,' Finance Chief Tells Duterte

Strict quarantines are holding the recovery back.
by Joel Guinto
Oct 6, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano
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The economy should be reopened further to help businesses get back on track after months of virus lockdown, Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez reported to President Rodrigo Duterte late Monday, as the country settled into at least one more months of restrictions.

January to September collections from the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs totalled P1.82 trillion, exceeding the P1.68 trillion projection. Still, it is 12% lower compared to the haul from the same period in 2019, Dominguez said.

"We have a good economy. What is happening is that this -- This very strict quarantine is holding it back. We have to really open the economy more," Dominguez told Duterte.

Metro Manila, Batangas province and the cities of Tacloban, Iloilo, Bacolod and Iligan are under the second lowest quarantine, GCQ. The lowest quarantine, MGCQ, remains over the rest of the country, except Lanao del Sur which is under MECQ, the second highest. The classifications are effective until Oct. 31.

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As long as there are quarantines, some businesses can't operate at full capacity. This October GCQ, however, allows staycations, tourism and 24-hour food deliveries. Salons and barbershops were also allowed to increase capacity.

Another complication is limited mobility. Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III said Monday public transportation capacity should be increased to bring more people to work.

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Aside from tax collections, Dominguez said the government has secured $9 billion (P435.6 billion) in loans at low interest and long terms and P65 billion from government owned and controlled corporations' dividends.

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