Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said his office will continue to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) the opening of more businesses and economic activities, to help the Philippine economy recover this year.
In a public briefing hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Friday, Lopez said the IATF will study which sectors can be opened gradually despite the postponement of easing the age restriction and retaining Metro Manila under the general community quarantine (GCQ) status.
“Two meetings ago with the IATF, we created a small working group that will study which of the remaining sectors under Category 4, or those that are open only in MGCQ (modified GCQ) areas, can be re-categorized under GCQ,” Lopez said in Filipino.
He added that the goal of the IATF to place the entire country under MGCQ in the first quarter of the year is “very much doable.”
However, the government has to monitor and contain the spread of the United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.
One of the sectors they are considering for reopening under GCQ areas includes some segments of the tourism sector such as museums and other tourist places that can still maintain the minimum public health protocol.
“That is a big consideration – to reopen other parts of tourism. We will study that. There is a chance to reopen it, but we will study it first,” he added.
Lopez also called on the public to strictly practice the minimum health standards in order to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19.
The DTI chief made his pronouncement after government announced that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 9.5 percent in 2020, snapping 21 years of consecutive growth. It was also the lowest since 1984, when the Philippine economy dropped by 7 percent.
For this year, the government economists are confident of a rebound of the country’s GDP by 6.5 to 7.5 percent that will also be aided by the roll out of the country’s vaccination drive against Covid-19. SOVEREIGN