CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in Northern Mindanao reported Tuesday that the region has already lost an estimated PHP14.7 billion since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic began.

NEDA-10 assistant director Leona Cajarte said the estimates covered between March 15 to May 31, after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of national health emergency and the subsequent imposition of community quarantine all over the country.

On top of the economic losses, Cajarte said a total of 48 firms permanently closed with 2,700 workers losing their jobs.

Cajarte also noted a report from the Department of Labor and Employment in Region 10 that some companies have retrenched their employees.

At least 9,672 firms in the region are affected by the pandemic, she added.

"Of the 9,672 firms affected, there were 48 firms permanent closure, 813 affected. There were 15 establishments that went to temporary closure with 424 affected workers. There were also 103 firms reducing the workforce, with 1,409 retrenched workers," she said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways Region 10 also reported that a total of 542 projects worth PHP11 billion that were suspended in the region in the last six months of the year.

Responding to the NEDA-10 report, Mayor Oscar Moreno said the city's economic prospects could have worsened if the local government adopted a "lockdown" policy in the city.

The local government, Moreno said, studied the situation "mathematically" by understanding the doubling time of Covid-19 cases in the city.

He also underscored the implementation of a less restrictive community quarantine in the first three months of health emergency to unburden the local economy.

Moreno noted that among the highly urbanized cities in the country, the city is second to General Santos city to have the lowest active Covid-19 cases. (PNA)