500K jobs estimated to return under MECQ

As NCR Plus — National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal returns to the less stringent modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) estimated that 500,000 jobs will be back in the labor market.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said that based on data of Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) labor force survey, the ECQ shed 1.5 million jobs.

“Based on the sectors that were not allowed (to operate) during the ECQ, it turns out that about 1.5 million (jobs) were lost. But under MECQ, there are about 500,000 (jobs) that can return so there are still about 1 million who have not totally returned,” Lopez said in Filipino in a radio interview on Monday, April 12.

Secretary Lopez further added that the remaining 1 million jobs may go back to the labor market once NCR Plus is placed under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Among the industries that are not allowed to operate under MECQ include the following:

—entertainment venues with live performers such as karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, theaters, and cinemas;

—recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, and similar venues;

—amusement parks or theme parks, fairs, kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom and kiddie rides;

—outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports, scrimmages, games, or activities;

—indoor sports courts or venues, fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centers or facilities, and swimming pools;

—casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office;

—indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits;

—outdoor tourist attractions;

—venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions;

—personal care services which include beauty salons, beauty parlors, medical aesthetic clinics, cosmetic or derma clinics, make-up salons, nail spas, reflexology, aesthetics, wellness and holistic centers, and other similar establishments; acupuncture and electrocautery establishments, massage therapy including sports therapy establishments, tanning services, body piercings, tattooing and similar services as well as home service for these activities; and

—dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants, and eateries

Further, Lopez said only 5% of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were closed before NCR Plus was placed under a stricter community quarantine status due to rising coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

Based on what MSMEs are telling DTI, especially from the restaurant industry, they will be able to operate only until this month if the stricter community quarantine status will continue for the few next months, the trade chief added.

However, Secretary Lopez said that since the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, or the Bayanihan 2, is extended until June 30 this year, the relief on loan terms such as deferment of loan as well as rents shall be provided to MSMEs.

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