Philippines shortens curfew, allows more people to leave homes

Philippines shortens curfew, allows more people to leave homes

Catholic faithful sit outside the Quiapo church in Manila on Oct 9, 2020, as health protocols imposed by authorities limit church goers inside the church to filling only 10% of their seating capacity. (AFP file photo)
Catholic faithful sit outside the Quiapo church in Manila on Oct 9, 2020, as health protocols imposed by authorities limit church goers inside the church to filling only 10% of their seating capacity. (AFP file photo)

The Philippines shortened curfew hours in Manila and eased the stay-at-home order in a bid to boost its economy. The peso and stocks rose.

The curfew in most of the capital region will now be from midnight to 4am, having previously been from 10pm to 5am, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a televised briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday.

People aged 15 to 65 will be allowed to go out in areas under the modified general community quarantine, the most relaxed movement restriction, compared to 21 to 60 previously, Año said. In the capital, the age bracket is initially adjusted to 18-65, which will be further widened later on, he said.

The twin changes are in response to a request from the Cabinet to allow more businesses to thrive. The Southeast Asian nation on Monday reported 2,638 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to almost 360,000.

The Philippines Stock Exchange Index rose 1.2%, while the peso was slightly higher at 48.580 to dollar at 10.17am in Manila on Tuesday.

The local market welcomed the latest measures, according to Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc in Manila. “It paves the way for the economic engine to rev up,” he said, forecasting the peso at 48.30-48.60 to a dollar and the stock index at 6,100-6,300 over the near term.

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