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Economic recovery plan on right track

Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez believes the government is in the right direction with its economic recovery plan, which it would continue to roll out next year.

During the first Economic Development Cluster briefing, Lopez said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases would deal more with recalibrating the reopening of the economy.

He said safe and gradual reopening of economic activities has been the working parameter of the IATF.

“We continue to stay the course, and with that, we mean we will have to continue with all the reforms that we are supposed to do,” he added.

The trade and Industry chief said his department would continue to propose certain measures to further reopen some parts of the economy like the meetings, incentives, conference, and exhibition industry as long as only 30 percent of the crowd would be allowed, and enforcement of health protocols would be ensured.

He said DTI eyes the economy to go back “closer to pre-Covid levels”.

“Because right now, even (if) we continue to reopen the sectors (and) our economy have shown signs of recovery, we are still far from the pre-pandemic level. That just means we have to continue this principle of risk management (rather) than risk avoidance. And I think that recalibrated reopening is the key,” Lopez said.

The DTI chief said since the IATF pushed for the gradual and safe reopening of economic activities, health statistics have not worsened, and a second wave of infection was not observed.

“We are successfully doing the recalibrated reopening of the economy,” he said.

Lopez said the country cannot afford another wider lockdown, noting the IATF and the local government units have agreed to implement granular lockdown instead.

“What we have agreed so far is a granular lockdown system. It has been working since July or August. We will continue to do that,” he added.