Community quarantines squeeze Northern Mindanao’s economy

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City health teams disinfect establishments along Cruz Taal, Cagayan de Oro on March 23, 2020 to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 3 April) – Northern Mindanao’s economy has taken a nosedive just two weeks after public transport and several business activities came to a standstill due to strict community quarantine measures.

For Mindanao who has been dependent on agriculture, tourism and trade, the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic will take its toll on its economy as countries in Asia closed its airports and seaports.

Power consumption, an economic indicator in Cagayan de Oro, has dropped by more than 20 percent after shopping malls and stores were ordered closed to contain infections.

Data obtained from the Department of Labor and Employment said more than 440 firms have closed down in just two weeks, affecting 6,313 workers.

A total of 186 companies have implemented flexible work arrangements for 3,607 employees, according to the DOLE data dated March 30.

The data covered business firms across the region’s nine cities and five provinces.

Northern Mindanao or Region 10 covers Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities, the provinces of Bukidnon and its component cities Malaybalay and Valencia, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental and its component cities Gingoog and El Salvador, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Occidental and its component cities Ozamiz, Oroquieta and Tangub.

SM Uptown in Cagayan de Oro City is empty after Mayor Oscar Moreno ordered the closure of shopping malls starting Tuesday (17 March 2020) as part of the measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But establishments within the mall offering basic necessisities like supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, hardware and restaurants with takeout or home delivery services remain open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

“We have not yet quantified our losses. The tourism industry has taken a major beating,” National Economic Development Authority regional director Mylah Faye Cariño said.

Marilyn Azarcon-Chavez, Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company manager for customer relations said that since March 16, power consumption in Cagayan de Oro had dropped by 20 to 40 percent.

“All our shopping malls, restaurants have closed following the quarantine measures,” she said.

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno ordered all shopping malls and “non-essential” stores in the city closed last March 19. He also ordered a curfew from 9pm to 6am.

Community quarantine measures vary across the region and among localities in a particular province.

Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia implemented strict quarantine measures and a 6pm to 6am curfew.

Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri initially ordered a stop to the transport of rice from the province to other parts of Mindanao but later recalled the order. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

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