MANILA, Apr 29 (Mabuhay) — At least one million workers remain “displaced” in NCR Plus areas due to the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), according to Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo on Thursday.
During the Laging Handa briefing, Castelo said this was down from the 1.5 million displaced employees recorded when NCR Plus — Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna — was under enhanced community quarantine.
“1.5 million employees in NCR Plus were displaced during ECQ but 500,000 of them were able to return to their jobs under MECQ,” Castelo said.
NCR Plus was placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 4 due to the surge in COVID-19 that put a strain on the country’s healthcare system. ECQ bans non-essential travels as well as non-essential businesses and services.
The MECQ protocol, on the other hand, prohibits non-essential trips and partially allows non-essential businesses and services to operate. It has been in effect in NCR Plus since April 5 and will last until May 14.
Personal care services and indoor dining for restaurants are prohibited under MECQ.
The Department of Trade and Industry has asked the government’s COVID-19 task force to allow personal care services and indoor dining under MECQ to address the unemployment issue.
Castelo said personal care services alone has 400,000 displaced workers, while 100,000 workers of restaurants with indoor dining are also out of jobs under MECQ.
“Iyong personal care services po, barbershops and salons lang po ito. Hindi kasama ang spa and massage [services]. Kaya nga po iyon ang rekomendasyon ng DTI [na magbukas ng ibang industriya] para unti-unti, dahan-dahan na pong makabalik sa trabaho iyong one million who were displaced,” Castelo said.
Castelo said that DTI is proposing to allow indoor dining at 10% capacity, and for personal care services to be allowed to as much as 50% provided that the location is outdoor. (MNS)