P83.3 billion worth of income lost in five weeks of ECQ, MECQ

MANILA, Philippines — People lost around P83.3 billion in possible income due to the stricter lockdown measures enforced for almost five weeks in Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces due to a new surge in COVID-19 cases surge, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said during a pre-recorded briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte that aired on Monday night.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) will continue monitoring figures on income that people were not able to receive due to the strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the modified ECQ (MECQ), Chua said.


According to him, for every week of ECQ, the income lost was P19.6 billion, and for every week of MECQ, the income lost was P14.7 billion was lost, according to him.

“Because we had two weeks of ECQ and we had an extension of almost three weeks of MECQ – so a total of almost five weeks — the effect on people is P83.3 billion in foregone wages,” Chua added in Filipino.

“Of course, this is one of our concerns, but we believe that we should help each other so that we could find a solution to this spike — so that we can slowly reopen our economy and give it back to the people,” he went on.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were placed under a so-called ECQ bubble they experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, which left their hospitals overwhelmed with patients.

The ECQ status was eventually downgraded after two weeks to MECQ, but the bubble continued to have a surge in cases.

On Monday, the country’s active COVID-19 case count rose to 141,375 after the Department of Health (DOH) tallied 9,628 new infections.

A huge bulk of the cases — 95,668 out 141,375 active cases — are in the NCR bubble. This accounts for 67.66 percent of all the active cases nationwide.

But on the flip side, Chua said that the country was able to generate 9.3 million jobs despite the pandemic.

“ February 2021, we were able to create 9.3 million jobs. So that means we were able to recover the lost jobs and even addded 600,000 jobs. And this is valuable because this is what runs our economy,” he said.

“But the unemployment rate is somewhat high at 8.8 percent. What we’re aiming at is that, hopefully, by next year the unemployment rate returns to 4 to 5 percent. And the last thing that NEDA is moniroting is the income or the salaries of people,” he added.


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