‘Short-sighted, desperate move’ to shift to MGCQ won’t revive economy — Ibon
MANILA, Philippines — The “short-sighted and desperate” move to place the country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) will not be enough to revive the economy, non-profit research group Ibon Foundation said Thursday.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua earlier advised President Rodrigo Duterte to put the Philippines under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) beginning March.
According to Chua, the “less restrictive” MGCQ would allow industries previously prevented from operating by a strict lockdown to reopen, leading to the revival of the country’s ailing economy.
But while it recognized that the government’s “excessive” quarantine restrictions since last year is what caused the economy’s collapse, Ibon noted that “easing restrictions will not spur recovery without a real fiscal stimulus while risking the more rapid spread of COVID-19.”
“Lifting COVID-related restrictions to boost the economy is a short-sighted and desperate move amid continuing failure to contain the pandemic,” Ibon said in a statement.
The think tank explained that significantly higher levels of government spending are needed to make up for the lockdown-driven collapse in consumption and investment.
“Government, first of all, needs to contain the pandemic better,” Ibon also said.
“On top of this, it simply has to spend more to help households and small businesses cope with record jobs and income losses and to recover from the economic shock,” it added.
Ibon also warned that the easing of restrictions only risks the faster spread of the new coronavirus.
Meanwhile, local chief executives in Metro Manila already voted to recommend the region’s shift to MGCQ by March. — Zac Sarao, Trainee
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