MANILA, Oct 12 (Mabuhay) — Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion III on Tuesday called for the need to open up more of the economy in the final quarter of the year, for businesses to recover and be able to pay their dues.

According to Concepcion, the fourth quarter is crucial for businesses given the historically higher consumer spending amid the Christmas holidays.

“We have to open the economy because this is the last quarter. This is time when most negosyantes can get back what they lost in the previous months. Babayaran nila mga 13th month pay, may utang nila sa bangko, sa suppliers [They will have to pay the 13th month pay, their loans in the banks, with suppliers],” he said during the Laging Handa virtual briefing.

Concepcion has been pushing for the imposition of “bakuna bubbles” or pockets of micro-herd immunity among closed groups such as homes and workplaces.

Under the proposed measure, vaccinations will be mandated for a range of indoor gatherings in a bit to boost the country’s immunization efforts and only allow privileges to those fully vaccinated.

At present conditions with only 30% indoor dining allowed for fully vaccinated individuals in Metro Manila, Concepcion said businesses do not gain much, noting that this should be increased to at least 50% to carry businesses over to 2022, or even 70% by November or December.

“Ito ang panahon that we should start to live with COVID. Kung pabagsak ang [If there is a downtrend on the] trajectory ng infection level, then we should open up more and more and then keep an eye, watch out if it reverses then we pull back and we can push back,” said Concepcion.

“For now, it’s only one quarter left ’til the end of the year. Bigay na natin ‘to sa mga negosyaante para mabuhay sila ’til next year. [Let’s give this to the businesses for the thrive until next year],” he added.

Latest data available from the Department of Health (DOH) show that the Philippines has so far inoculated a total of 50.066 million doses as of October 11, 2021.

This is comprised of 26.706 million of first dose shots, and 23.360 million of second and single dose shots.

The Philippines on Monday, October 11, reported 8,292 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the lowest daily tally since 8,276 cases recorded in April this year.

The country’s total caseload now stands at 2,674,814 which includes 98,894 active cases, 2,536,260 recoveries, and 39,660 deaths.

“Ngayon nakikita natin [Now we are seeing], we’re saying let’s open up, let’s be aggressive now, and let’s just be vigilant,” Concepcion said. (MNS)

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