The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has estimated that placing the National Capital Region (NCR) under the more relaxed Alert Level 2 can boost the economy by P3.6 billion and employment by 16,000 per week compared to the current Alert Level 3.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua bared Thursday results of the NEDA and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimates measuring the weekly improvement on the country’s economic performance as it shifts to an alert level depending on developments of Covid-19 cases.
Estimates also show that an additional P10.3 billion in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 43,000 in employment can be gained per week with further deescalation to Alert Level 1.
“So, there are very clear indicators why opening the economy will have a direct impact on GDP and the people,” Chua said in a webinar of Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines.
Chua, who is also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general, reiterated the importance to safely reopen the economy especially as cases of Covid-19 infections decline.
“That will create an effect to create more sales turnover, hire more people, provide more taxes to the government and use that (taxes) virtuously to provide more targeted support to the sectors that really need it rather than close the economy, do not allow 75 percent of the people to work, and then trying to find resources to feed these people, which you know, cannot be multiplied,” he said.
Chua said the NEDA has found that the long-run total costs of Covid-19 pandemic and the quarantines would be P41.4 trillion in net present value terms.
“In 2020, our GDP lost 4.3 trillion (pesos) over the long term. That means, the next 10 to 40 years it will be around 37 trillion (pesos),” he said.
As the country reopens its economy, Chua cited the need to manage “risks better.”
“More and more people are living with the virus from the pandemic to endemic mode. And we think this is a very good opportunity to further open the economy, accept the virus as a part and parcel of our lives, and treat it like a flu that will come once in a while,” he added.