NEDA chief bats for eased NCR Plus quarantine restrictions to spur economic recovery
MANILA, Philippines — National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua is pushing for a less stringent community quarantine status in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area by the middle or end of May for the country to achieve its economic targets.
Chua said the Development Budget Coordination Committee has projected a 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth in 2021, and 8 to 10 percent growth in 2022.
“In other words, we will recover to pre-pandemic levels sometime in 2022,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
But when asked if the country could achieve this projection if the NCR Plus will continue to be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Chua replied: “No, we have to move out of MECQ by the middle or the end of the month. We cannot be in MECQ for the entire year.”
“Last year, we were in a combination of GCQ (general community quarantine), MECQ, and ECQ, so we have to use these two months very wisely that we are in this bubble to enhance our PDITR strategy so that we can open the economy as soon as we can, and that is really the focus of the government right now,” he added.
PDITR is one of the strategies of the government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which means to prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate.
Chua said the NCR Plus should be placed under GCQ, a less stringent community quarantine status.
“We have to move out of MECQ, we have to go to GCQ, and even better. And a big part of that is our own personal behavior, and everyone knows already what to do: wash hands, wear a mask and shield when you go out, you only go out to work or to buy essentials, and even wear a mask if you are living with a comorbid or senior citizen,” he said.
“So all of us have to cooperate to make this happen. It’s not a magic solution that the government or someone can just deliver,” the NEDA chief added.
The NCR Plus, which covers the economic hub Metro Manila and the four neighboring provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and Bulacan, is under MECQ until May 14.
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