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Economic loss from Luzon lockdown may hit P1.157 trillion

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PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN RASALES

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order to lock down Luzon amid a novel coronavirus outbreak could lead to P1.157 trillion in losses, as economic activity virtually comes to a halt, according to a congressman.

Economic growth could also slow to 2.57% this year, Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda told a news briefing on Sunday.

The country could have experienced a recession had Mr. Duterte not enforced the Luzon-wide quarantine, he added.

Mr. Salceda said the economy could still grow faster than other countries once the enhanced community quarantine is lifted.

Congress will try to muster enough quorum during a special session on Monday to pass a bill that will allow Mr. Duterte to realign funds.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said visa-free privileges for foreigners would be suspended during the lockdown in Luzon.

Visa-free privileges based on visa waiver agreements, those under Executive Order 408, holders of Hong Kong and Macau SAR passports, Macau-Portuguese passports and British National Overseas passports had also been suspended starting March 22, he said at a news briefing.

Foreigners with visas issued by Foreign Service Posts will also not be allowed to enter the country unless they are officials from accredited Foreign Government and International Organization and their dependents.

Visas of foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals will also be exempted from the suspension, Mr. Nograles said. — Gillian M. Cortez





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