August 03, 2021
The estimated damage to agriculture caused by the southwest monsoon, enhanced by Typhoon Fabian (international name: In-Fa), has climbed to almost ₱700 million, the Department of Agriculture reported. Affected were 26,994 farmers from the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region and Western Visayas, according to the DA's Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center.
Amid strict quarantine restrictions against COVID-19, less Filipinos were able to find work in June, the Philippine Statistics Authority said. National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the national unemployment rate among residents aged 15 and above stood at 7.7% during the month, similar to May. This is equivalent to 3.76 million jobless Filipinos, higher than the 3.73 million tally in the previous month.
The government’s national expenditure plan for 2022 is being printed and readied for submission to Congress as scheduled, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday. At a press briefing, Roque said Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado was able to submit to the Palace the P5.024-trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022 before he went on medical leave.
The Philippine manufacturing sector continued to expand in July, albeit at a slighter pace, as lingering effects of lockdowns continue to affect the industry. In its latest report on Philippines Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), global think tank IHS Markit said the country posted a PMI of 50.4 in July, down from the 50.8 reading in June.This is the second consecutive month that the country’s PMI is in the growth territory. “The rate of job shedding eased to the softest since March, while firms continued to add to their pre- and post-production inventory holdings in anticipation of greater demand,” the report read.
Malacañang has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to downgrade Cebu Province’s modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) classification to general community quarantine with heightened restrictions. Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia welcomed the downgrading as she assured that there will be no border control. In separate interviews, acting Mayor Michael Rama of Cebu City and Mayor Jonas Cortes of Mandaue City are hopeful that both cities’ classification which is MECQ will be downgraded.
The business sector is gearing up for another bumpy ride with the upcoming implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) amid the growing cases of Covid-19 Delta variant. This will be the third time that the country’s capital is put under the strictest form of community quarantine, which is seen to further hamper mobility, employment, consumer spending and demand.
Checkpoints were activated at 12 a.m. on Sunday at the borders of the National Capital Region (NCR) and the neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite—collectively called the NCR Plus—to stop the exodus of people in the capital region to other nearby provinces, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said. Persons who need to travel may present at the QCPs identification cards issued last year by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or any valid ID or document proving that their travel is essential.
As Metro Manila shifts to a stricter enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to 20, Malacañang shared some rules for areas under such status. Citing the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases, here are the establishments it said are not allowed to operate during ECQ.
The Department of Health agrees with a US agency's report saying the Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox. The report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the Delta variant’s transmissibility is comparable to chickenpox since a person infected with it can also infect up to eight others in one sitting. It added that fully vaccinated people can spread the Delta variant in the same rate as people who have not been immunized against COVID-19.
Nearly 11 million individuals in Metro Manila will each receive ₱1,000 financial assistance — or a maximum of ₱4,000 per household — during the upcoming hard lockdown, officials confirmed. Senator Bong Go, who attended the televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, confirmed this was approved by the chief executive. He said 80% of the 13 million residents in Metro Manila — roughly 10.8 million individuals — are set to receive financial aid during the ECQ period.
Eleven of the 15 economists polled by the Inquirer last week projected a lower rate of increase in the prices of basic commodities last month compared to June’s 4.1 percent year-on-year. The Philippine Statistics Authority’s July inflation report will be out on Thursday, Aug. 5. Capital Economics’ Alex Holmes had the lowest forecast of 3.7 percent, while Ateneo de Manila University’s Ser Percival Peña-Reyes and Philippine National Bank’s Alvin Arogo both projected 3.8 percent. Moody’s Analytics’ Steven Cochrane, HSBC Global Research, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s Michael Ricafort, Sun Life Financial’s Patrick Ella and UnionBank’s Carlo Asuncion projected 3.9 percent.
Metro Manila may implement 24/7 vaccinations during the two-week enhanced community quarantine, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said. The Secretary said he is "amenable" to the idea in order to fast-track the administration of the four million COVID-19 shots previously requested by Metro Manila mayors for their residents. He did not specify when the 24/7 vaccinations will be implemented, but he noted that these must start "as soon as possible."
Those scheduled for COVID-19 vaccination are considered authorized persons outside of residence or APOR, so they can travel to inoculation centers during the enhanced community quarantine period, an official said. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said vaccinees will be asked to show their vaccination card or a text from their local government that they are scheduled to get vaccinated that day. He added the government is discouraging walk-in vaccinations to avoid crowding.
While the healthcare utilization rate remains low, hospitals in the Philippines are already feeling the rise in new COVID-19 infections, treatment czar Leopoldo Vega said. Based on the DOH monitoring bulletin, a hospital is considered at moderate risk if its utilization rate is from 60% to less than 70%. A high-risk classification means the occupancy rate is between 70% to less than 85%, while a locality is at a critical level if its occupancy rate is 85% and above. On Sunday, the Philippines recorded 8,735 new cases—the third consecutive day to hit the 8,000 mark.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved on Sunday two changes in quarantine protocols for COVID-19 cases. In its latest Resolution No. 130-D, the IATF shortened the detection to isolation interval to less than five days. The other change in quarantine protocol approved by IATF is giving priority to facility-based isolation and quarantine. The move is to prevent household transmission of the coronavirus.
Guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccination drive during the hard lockdown in Metro Manila will be out before August 6, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said. The national government approved the request of Metro Manila mayors to receive four million more COVID-19 vaccines to ramp up immunization while mobility is restricted, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
The country's top cop says directions for those manning checkpoints in the National Capital Region were sent out after enhanced community quarantine were reinstated starting August 1. Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said cargo vans or trucks carrying essential goods will be allowed free movement during the two-week ECQ. Additionally, authorized persons outside residence (APORs) belong to the workforce and consumers so they will be allowed entry into the NCR.
The country’s chief economist warned of hundreds of billions in pesos in losses resulting from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20, on top of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who would slide to temporary poverty. This would be the third ECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR) since the pandemic was declared in early 2020. The first and longest was from March 16 to May 15, 2020, which crippled the economy. The second was from March 29 to April 11 this year during a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Swedish business community is exploring investment opportunities in Davao City, including in business process outsourcing (BPO) and dealership where some companies from the European country already have a local presence. Antonio S. Peralta, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP)-Southern Mindanao Business Council said that the other potential investment areas are in manufacturing consumer durables, and distribution and dealership for industrial machinery and parts. Sweden was one of the recent stops of an online roadshow organized by the Davao City Investment Promotion Center with ECCP, Embassy of Sweden in Manila, Philippine Embassy in Stockholm, and the Department of Trade and Industry.
In a report on Friday, Sian Fenner, lead Asia economist of Oxford Economics, said the Philippines was expected to “experience one of the largest permanent losses in output” in Asia-Pacific, such that gross domestic product (GDP) in 2025 was estimated to be 8.4-percent lower than what would have been the level if the pandemic did not happen. Oxford Economics said the Philippines’ GDP shortfall four years from now would be equivalent to 1.75 trend-years of lost growth, the biggest in Asia-Pacific.
To keep businesses afloat in the upcoming two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region, a lawmaker recommends the formation of “business bubbles.” With more than 7 million fully vaccinated individuals and testing has become routine in many places, Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo urged the government to allow “business bubbles” to operate during the 2-week ECQ that will start on August 6. The lawmaker said workplaces that are willing to test workers should be allowed to operate.
Overtime work and best efforts even in the limited virtual settings are necessary to fast-track passage in the Senate of key pieces of legislation, especially Palace-certified ones, as a result of the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR Plus) from August 6 to 20, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said. Some of the priority bills are the amendatory bills for the PSA, FIA and RTL which are Palace-certified bills, and were mentioned in President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 26 as among those he hoped the Senate could pass. They have been approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.
The pandemic’s impact on global trade risks worsening in coming weeks as more factories across Southeast Asia brace for closures amid one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks. Factory shutdowns are accelerating in Vietnam, while Thailand is prepping for outbreaks among its manufacturers and the Philippines tightens restrictions in its economic heartland. The economic impact will be acute for nations like Vietnam and Thailand, where exports were expected to be a bright spot as richer economies in the west emerged from lockdowns. The disruptions come as shipments and orders would traditionally ramp up to meet demand for the Christmas shopping season.
Philippine exporters are seeking financial and technological support from developed countries to address carbon emissions as the world’s biggest economies mull climate-related tariffs on traded goods. The European Union (EU) last month unveiled a proposal to impose carbon border taxes on carbon-intensive overseas businesses, which was designed to protect European industries cutting emissions from being at a competitive disadvantage to imports.
Headline inflation likely eased to a seven-month low in July, and returned to within the central bank’s target range, with analysts noting that improved meat supply and a slower rise in transport costs likely offset higher prices of fuel and other food items. If realized, this would mark the first month since December that inflation settled within the 2-4% target of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). It would also be nearer the lower end of the BSP’s 3.9-4.7% estimate for July.