The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is now encouraging more on-site work and lessened work-from-home setup as the country now moves to the new normal.
Speaking with President Rodrigo Duterte during the Talk to the People Monday evening, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said urging employees to physically report in their workplaces will stimulate economic activities.
“We will encourage more on-site presence. Before, we encouraged work-from-home. This time, it’s physical presence. This means many will go back to their offices, there will be resumption of many events that will stimulate spending. With the increased mobility, people are spending when they go to their workplaces and going back home,” he said.
Lopez said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the transport sector will greatly benefit from the increased mobility now that Metro Manila and key provinces were de-escalated to Alert Level 1.
He added that work-from-home remains an option for companies and employees.
“Moving to the Alert Level 1 will lessen the remaining economic restrictions and allow a full economic recovery. With Alert Level 1, we expect full momentum on our economic growth,” he added.
It has been two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that the country shifted to the new normal.
Under the new normal situation, businesses are now allowed to operate at full capacity, which means physical distancing will no longer be observed. Wearing of face mask, however, will remain mandatory.
The DTI chief said the government hopes to bring down the unemployment rate to the pre-pandemic level at around 5 percent as the country enters the new normal.
Lopez added that this would mean some 800,000 jobs will be recovered over time.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also projected that with the de-escalation of alert levels, the economy will gain P9.4 billion a week.
Economic growth is also expected to continue its momentum.
“So, this is the benefit of Alert Level 1. It will now allow us this year not only to hit back the 2019 pre-pandemic level,” Lopez said.*PNA