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Bicol posts P7.6B losses in economy

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Bicol said that based on its initial assessment as of April 2020, the region’s economy has suffered approximately P7.6 billion losses as a result of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“It was equivalent to 4.07 percent of the 2018 Gross Regional Domestic Product wherein the industry and services sectors recorded the highest losses,” Edna Cynthia Berces, NEDA Bicol assistant regional director said.

She added that the pandemic had adverse impact on the economy due to income losses as well as the effects on employment and investments as a result of lockdowns.

“Based on the latest Labor Force and Employment Estimates, the employment rate had decreased from 94.48 percent in January 2020 to 84.3 percent in April 2020,” Berces said.

The unemployment rate also surged from 5.52 percent in January 2020 to 15.7 percent in April 2020 due to the displacement of workers during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in March 2020, she added.

“Private business establishments were forced to adopt flexible work arrangements such as reduction of employees, rotation of work schedules, imposition of forced leaves, and even temporary closure or stoppage of business operations,” Berces explained.

She also said that the pandemic affected the tourism industry in the region, which is one of the major economic drivers of Bicol economy.

Moreover, Berces said that the government tried to balance the negative impact of pandemic on the people and the economy by implementing programs to alleviate the economic situation such as wage subsidies, financial assistances, among others.

“It also enacted policies that will gradually stimulate the economy by allowing some sectors to operate during the modified enhanced community quarantine or general community quarantine,” she said.

Berces said that the data presented in its initial assessment are based on the NEDA Rapid Assessment Survey, 2017 Annual Survey of Philippine and Business Industry, and 2018 Annual Tourist Arrivals. (PIA5/CEB/NEDA Bicol)

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