Ecoomic managers note increased vaccination in PH

Stringent health protocols, timely execution of various recovery measures, and vaccination of more Filipinos are expected to boost the Philippine economy’s recovery, economic managers said in a report by Philippine News Agency.

In a statement issued after the release of the 2021 Labor Force Survey results on Tuesday, economic managers said the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area from March 29 to May 15 this year “was not wasted” because of the decline of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases. 

“Given this progress, we are ready to take well-calibrated steps to achieve better health and job outcomes for the people. The government continues to implement its three-pillar strategy to ensure our recovery,” it said. 

NCR Plus, which also covers Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite, registered a large number of cases in early March thus, the implementation of the stricter quarantine levels. 

The economic managers said while the stricter quarantine levels doused employment gains in the first quarter of the year, “the overall labor market outcomes are substantially better as we took a more risk-based approach in imposing restrictions.” 

When the government imposed ECQ in mid-March until end-April 2020 in Luzon and until end-May 2020 in NCR, only the medical front-liners and select economic front-liners were allowed to go out of their homes. 

Public transportation was also paralyzed. 

Authorities said around 75 percent of the country’s economy was affected by the said movement restrictions.

This year, however, the government allowed public transportation to operate during the ECQ and more sectors were allowed to remain open but players were required to strictly heed health protocols. 

“Our experience this year shows that we can reduce cases while helping people recover their jobs and income at the same time,” the statement said, citing the importance of the implementation of the digital contact tracing system to cut the period from detection to isolation from seven to five days.

The statement said this system can slash Covid-19 cases by 51 percent based on epidemiological models. 

This system is now being implemented in Pasig, Mandaluyong, Valenzuela, and Antipolo cities, it said, but “the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved the expansion of this system to the rest of the country and ensuring interoperability across apps and LGUs (local government units).” 

With the re-imposition of the ECQ and the MECQ this year, the national unemployment rate rose to 8.7 percent in April from 7.1 percent in March.

However, the latest figure is better than the record-high unemployment rate of 17.6 percent in April last year, the statement said.

NCR and Region 4-A, or the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (Calabarzon), posted the highest unemployment rate last April at 14.4 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively, it said.

The unemployment rate outside of NCR, meanwhile, sustained its decline to 7.9 percent last April from 8.7 percent last January. 

“This reflects the gains from the safe reopening of the economy in the provinces,” the statement said. 

Meanwhile, underemployment in the NCR rose to 15.5 percent last April from 8.2 percent last January “as more jobs shifted to part-time arrangements given capacity restrictions.” 

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) slipped from 65 percent to 63.2 percent from March 2021 to April 2021. 

“Nonetheless, total employment in April 2021 remained above pre-Covid-19 levels. While the economy lost 8.7 million jobs at the height of the quarantines last April 2020, the economy generated 9.4 million jobs or a net of 0.7 million jobs between April 2020 to April 2021. Improving the rate of job creation will be crucial in our recovery effort this year,” the statement added.

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“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” 

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

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