THE easing of the quarantine to Alert Level 1 in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other major provinces and cities will result in the eventual creation of about 500,000 jobs, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
“We are running the numbers, depending on other provinces and highly urbanized cities that will be de-escalated. If we assume de-escalation of NCR and key cities and provinces, we hope to generate around 500,000 more jobs over time,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a Viber message.
“But it is important to (maintain) masks, regular disinfection, (improved) ventilation, and vaccination,” he added.
The Alert Level 1 quarantine setting for Metro Manila in early March was announced Sunday afternoon, with new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases continuing to decline. Metro Manila has been under Alert Level 2 since the start of February.
Alert Level 1 is the most relaxed quarantine setting, allowing business establishments to operate at full capacity as long as minimum public health standards are followed. Travel between and within areas with different alert settings, regardless of age and comorbidities, will also be permitted.
Under Alert Level 1, Mr. Lopez said, businesses can expect “(fewer) restrictions on remaining operating capacity, removal of physical barriers, work from home as optional,” Mr. Lopez said.
Mr. Lopez said the Philippines is close to recovering the jobs that were lost during the pandemic.
He added that around 800,000 jobs are expected to be created in the Philippines once restrictions are removed.
“Yes, (we are) getting close to it. Thus, we can expect to generate 800,000 more jobs over time for the entire country once we remove the (remaining) restrictions,” Mr. Lopez said.
“Hopefully, (in the first round) of de-escalation, we can hit about 500,000 of that with all parts of the economy functioning again,” he added.
Mr. Lopez has announced that the DTI will propose the removal of plastic barriers in business establishments.
He added that temperature checks must remain despite the protocol changes set to be made under Alert Level 1. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave