NEDA Chief Pushes for Bubble's Exit from MECQ

The risks must be managed.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Karl Kendrick Chua said Monday the quarantine in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces should be loosened by mid-May for the Philippines to meet its growth target.

Authorities are "managing the risk" instead of shutting down the entire economy, with up to 98% of workers allowed to go to work as long as they have no COVID symptoms. The capital region, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan are under MECQ, the second highest quarantine until May 14.

"We have to move out of MECQ , have to go to GCQ and even better," Chua told ANC's Headstart.

MORE ON THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMY:

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President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team is targeting gross domestic product growth of 6.5% to 7.5% this year and 8% to 10% in 2022 after the economy last year sank to its worst recession since World War II.

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Chua said the detection-to-isolation turnaround for contact tracing must be shortened to 5.5 days from seven and the Department of Health must increase available isolation beds for the economy to reopen further, he said.

Shifting to a looser quarantine in May would mean not being "totally risk averse," like in 2020, when the lockdowns started. Economic managers are recalibrating the reopening of the economy as COVID-19 vaccines start to trickle in, Chua said.

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