Duterte agrees on modified quarantine by May 15

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Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is thinking of partially lifting the enhanced community quarantine in the entire country by May 15. Calling it a “modified ECQ”, Duterte says he may allow opening sectors of the economy, especially the construction sector.

This is somewhat a stark departure from the highly pessimistic pronouncements made by Duterte last week. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque already announced the full opening of several businesses by May 15.

The decision may have been spurred by several suggestions made by several presidential advisers who are deathly worried on the state of the economy. Bangko Sentral Governor Prof. Benjamin Diokno says the economy could tank by second and third quarters of this year, but is expected to recover by the fourth quarter and by next year.

Diokno may have been referring to 2021 as the election year. Normally, there is increased spending during election years in the Philippines.

This latest pronouncement of Duterte is good news not just with businessmen but with workers. Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III says more than half a million Filipinos lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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