The Luzon-wide quarantine could spare the Philippine economy from entering into a possible recession, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said.
In a Laging Handa public briefing, Salceda explained the importance of implementing an “orderly lockdown” to prevent a community transmission of the highly-infectious coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“Ang virus ay nagta-thrive through economic activity so kailangan talaga pigilan muna ang ating pagtakbo ng ekonomiya (The virus thrives through economic activity, so we need to temporarily halt economic activity),” he said.
He emphasized that while the month-long quarantine was expected to result in economic losses, a mass transmission would cost the economy even more.
“Kung di natin ‘to gawin at magkaroon ng mass community transmission…mas lalong mawawalan ng kumpiyansa sa loob ng ating sistema. So baka po magkaroon tayo ng recession. Kung di natin ginawa ang lockdown, baka saka tayo mag recession (If we don’t implement a quarantine and there will be mass community transmission, we will lose confidence in the system. There could be a possible recession. If we didn’t implement the lockdown, we could enter into recession),” he said.
He said the Luzon-wide quarantine could help the country’s economy remain among one of fastest growing economies in the world despite the pandemic.
“Sa pananaw ko kaya pa po ng Pilipinas na mag-grow faster than the other countries in the world through at least kaya pa po natin mag 3 percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate (In my opinion, the Philippines can still grow faster than other countries in the world by a GDP growth rate of at least 3 percent),” he said.
He said stopping economic activity in Luzon for a month due to Covid-19 costs PHP1.157 trillion or 2.57 percent economic losses.
Luzon’s economic share is about 74 percent of GDP.
Earlier, economic managers said the impact of Covid-19 is likely to slow the country’s GDP growth to 5 percent this year, below the 6.5 to 7.5 percent target.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12 requiring residents to strictly stay indoors and limit movement to accessing basic necessities.
The only establishments that remain operational are involved in the production of basic necessities such as food, pharmacies, banks or remittance centers, and basic utilities such as water, electricity, internet, and telecommunications. garbage collection, funeral and internment services, and gasoline stations also remain open.
Those exempted are uniformed personnel, health workers, emergency and other mission-critical services, and media personnel with accreditation from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
All forms of mass transportation are suspended.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 380 confirmed cases, 25 deaths, and 15 recoveries.
As the world struggles to respond to the health crisis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a global recession “perhaps of record dimensions” was a near certainty.
To date, confirmed Covid-19 cases surged past 300,000 globally with nearly 13,000 deaths. (PNA)