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Relaxed age restriction in MGCQ areas to stimulate business: DTI

The government’s latest move to further ease age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), like Bacolod City and Negros, would result in increased revenues of businesses, particularly the retail sector, the country’s top trade official said yesterday.

In a radio interview, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said that based on their surveys among businesses, their revenues could double or triple when more segments of the market are allowed to go outside.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) now allows 10 to 65 years old from 15 to 65 years old in MGCQ areas to go outside their residences, which means that individuals from 10 to 14 years old can now enter malls and other retail outlets.

In justifying the move, Lopez said the reasons behind their recommendation to IATF – first, family activities such as shopping and dining accounted for 50 percent of stores’ revenues, based on DTI surveys among shopping malls; second, adults can now shop and dine with their household members from age 10 years old; and third, there was no surge in Covid-19 cases since the government reopened the economy.

“Imagine, we allow the reopening of different sectors but you don’t have the market because there is age limitation. Then, the story is not yet complete. We haven’t got back to pre-Covid level,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

Lopez said that since the measure will re-stimulate economic activities, this will help businesses to survive amid the challenging environment during the pandemic to prevent more closure of enterprises and shedding more jobs.

He added that despite the relaxed age restriction, the strict implementation of the minimum health standards shall be kept.

Local government units in GCQ areas, like Metro Manila, may also expand the age group to go outside depending on the Covid-19 situation in their respective areas, Lopez said.

LICENSURE EXAMS

The IATF-EID has also allowed the Professional Regulation Commission to proceed with the scheduled licensure examinations from January to March, Malacañang said yesterday.

“The request of the Professional Regulation Commission to conduct and administer the licensure examinations for professionals scheduled for January to March 2021 was approved,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

The IATF-EID’s latest decision was contained in Resolution 95, Roque said.

Licensure examinations for medical technologists, sanitary engineers, and architects are scheduled this month, according to the official website of the PRC.

The examination for sanitary engineers is set Jan. 25-27, and for architects on Jan. 29 and 31.

In February, the PRC scheduled licensure examinations for veterinarians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, real estate consultants, geologists, master plumbers, psychologists, mechanical engineers, and certified plant mechanics.

The PRC is also set to hold licensure examinations for foreign medical professionals, physicians, respiratory therapists, medical technologists, optometrists, ocular pharmacologists, and professional teachers in March.

The PRC postponed the licensure examinations last year due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Last month, Iligan Rep. Frederick Siao called for the resumption of PRC’s board examinations in 2021 to avoid manpower shortages amid the Covid-19 crisis.*PNA

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