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DTI sees most NCR displaced workers resuming employment

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

MOST of the workers in Metro Manila who were displaced by the pandemic are expected to return to the workforce with the reopening of industry and the lowering of the region’s alert level, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

It said the displaced workers number about 300,000. It gave no details on exactly how many of them will return.

“With most of the remaining economic sectors, particularly the service sector, to be reopened in Metro Manila, and at higher operating capacities because also of the de-escalation to Alert Level 3, we expect most of the balance (300,000) displaced workers to be back to work,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a Viber message Thursday.

The government’s pandemic task force has given the green light for Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila between Oct. 16 and 31.

Alert Level 3 is the third-strictest community quarantine classification implemented in places with high coronavirus case counts, with high usage rates of hospital beds and intensive care units.

On Thursday, Mr. Lopez said entertainment and karaoke bars, amusement centers for children, and playgrounds will remain closed during the period, with a “minimal” number of workers — less than 100,000 — to be affected.

Asked to estimate the percentage of closed establishments during the new alert level, he replied: “(We) will need a new survey given these new reopenings, but the base case under GCQ (general community quarantine) before was about 4% closed.”

Last month, Mr. Lopez said he supports allowing most businesses to open regardless of alert level, limiting only their capacity levels when there is a rise in infections. He said this will promote business continuity and head off an “open-close-open” operating cycle. — Angelica Y. Yang

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