Concepcion content with Alert Level 2 in Metro Manila
Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Secretary Joey Concepcion retreated from his stance of easing the alert level system in Metro Manila following the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
"In Alert Level 2, I consulted the private sector, the restaurant owners and other business establishments. And we think Alert Level 2 is okay and the situation of the business establishments are good because the number of people going out has increased," he said during the virtual ''Laging Handa'' public briefing on Friday.
"There is more mobility which is good and that’s what we need and consumer spending has started to pick in. So, the cash flow of the MSMEs are not good," he added.
Concepcion had been calling for the metropolis to be under Alert Level 1 by December as COVID-19 cases fell due to vaccination and granular lockdown. But the threat of the Omicron variant forced the government to maintain Alert Level 2.
Concepcion said the biggest challenge for the private sector is how to sustain the opening of the economy amid the Omicron variant.
"Now, the biggest challenge is how do we sustain this moving forward. While we can qualify for Alert Level 1, prudence says stay at Alert Level 2. So that we can sustain this even until the year 2022," he said.
"That is what is important to sustaining this opening of the economy, because the national government can no longer afford to close the economy," Concepcion said.
"We saw the debt to GDP has increased which means that we are borrowing more money to fund the health needs of this country, vaccines particularly, but the growth has to continue to be sustained. But to grow, if it slides down then that’s when we face some challenges, that's why it is better that we stay first at Alert Level 2. Let’s see more visibility with Omicron," he added. Robina Asido/DMS