The government expects to bring back some 200,000 to 300,000 unemployed workers into the active labor force with the easing of quarantine restrictions starting today (May 15).
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night approved a resolution placing Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite—collectively known as NCR Plus—under General Community Quarantine with heightened restrictions.
“Based on our computation, there was around 1 million workers that remained unemployed from 1.5 million who were jobless during the Enhanced Community Quarantine. As we slowly ease restrictions another 300,000 found work and with the new GCQ, we expect to generate jobs for some 200,000 to 300,000 people,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
“The easing of restrictions in NCR Plus is good news for our tourism stakeholders. This means more tourism workers will go back to work, and economic activities will continue. Needless to say, there is no room for complacency. We need to observe the health and safety protocols in every destination that we wish to visit,” added Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
DOH thumbs down vaccine pass proposal
The Department of Health (DOH) has rejected a proposal to provide “vaccine pass” to inoculated persons entering indoor establishments.
Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said there is still not enough evidence to prove that COVID-19 vaccines can provide immunity and block transmission.
“Even if you are fully vaccinated, you still need to follow minimum health protocols. The DOH does not recommend yet this proposed vaccine pass,” she said.
Indoor dining can resume at 20 percent seating capacity once Metro Manila and neighboring provinces return to GCQ status today.
PNP to keep checkpoints
Quarantine control points will remain in place in the NCR Plus borders, the Philippine National Police said on Friday.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar also ordered policemen manning checkpoints to arrest and charge those who would be caught smuggling people in and out of the NCR Plus bubble using cargo vehicles and vans.
“The PNP will strictly implement the guidelines issued by the national government regarding the latest quarantine status. NCR Plus is under GCQ with heightened restrictions,” Eleazar added.