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Banking services to remain amid ECQ

BSP reminds banks to adopt necessary protocols against the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) assured the public of continued banking services amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“(The) BSP reminds banks to adopt necessary protocols against the transmission of the Covid-19 virus. This is in line with efforts to maintain banking industry operations despite alternative work arrangements and heightened restrictions imposed in Metro Manila and other localities during this period,” it said in a statement on Friday.

According to the central bank, its head office in Manila and Security Plant Complex in Quezon City would operate with a skeleton workforce of mission-critical departments and support units that will continue to report on-site, under shortened working hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Food Prices Stable
Meanwhile, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said prices of food remain stable, as the solid fundamentals and the various measures imposed by the Duterte administration to address supply-side pressure are reaping benefits for the country amid a low-interest rate and low profitability environment.

“We expect pork prices to go down further in the second half of the year as more imports come in through the increased minimum access volume allocation and lower tariffs,” Chua said.

“Rest assured that we will continue to proactively manage any threats to the country’s food security, especially during the ECQ,” he added.

As the initial measures to respond to the pandemic begin to ease slowly, Chua said economic planners had examined the lessons learned and have adopted their response in recent months.

The Department of Agriculture will hasten the issuance of the certificate of necessity to import fish as the fish inflation rose to 9.3 percent in July from just 8.7 percent month-ago to cover the domestic demand gap during the closed fishing season starting October 2021.

But the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said non-food inflation slowed during the month, particularly transport, which dropped from 9.6 to just seven percent as mobility in the country continued to improve.

The NEDA chief stressed that while the ECQ would affect the country’s economic recovery prospects, a stricter lockdown is necessary to address the potential surge of cases from the new Delta variant.

“We encourage everyone to use this time to get vaccinated, so we can safely reopen the economy once we have contained the spread of the Delta variant,” Chua said.

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