The counterpart of the country’s largest business group, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), in Davao Region sees the need to balance health and business when imposing community quarantine (CQ).
Reason? Not to sacrifice economic activities and the movement of workers.
That said, PCCI has appealed for a seat in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in a discussion of Covid-19 policy particularly when deciding what type of community quarantine will be implemented.
“PCCI wants that the perspective of business be also considered in the fight against Covid-19 to balance health and business when deciding what kind of community quarantine will be imposed,” said Arturo Milan, regional governor of PCCI in a text message.
A resolution was passed by PCCI’s Board of Directors urging the government to engage the business sector in consultation before coming up with policy recommendations on the lockdowns and the resumptions of economic activities.
In a statement, the group is appealing for the inclusion of the business sector in the IATF. The IATF will be able to use the on-the-ground experience of the business sector to come up with a holistic approach that will make it easier for businesses to fully resume operation and for workers to return to work.
Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, PCCI president was also quoted in the statement that the longer the economy stays in its current state where businesses cannot function 100 percent nor even up to 75 percent, the more protracted the recession that will follow and the more people will be permanently out of jobs.
Yujuico also cited the mandatory use of face shields for workers, the observance of two-meter physical distancing and the designation of an isolation area of one room for every 200 employees, is simply not realistic in a production-line setting.
The top concerns of the business sector are the stringent regulation on public transportation that limits the mobility of workers, the policies and regulations imposed by the local governments on top of, or inconsistent with those implemented by the IATF; the impractical standards that must be adopted in workplace settings; slow consumer confidence that negatively impact on sales and revenues; and cash flow and liquidity.
The group is hopeful that the government will recognize the vital role of businesses in creating labor demand and providing incomes and the urgency of addressing the issue on livelihood and poverty before these could lead to social unrest arising from subsistence living and hunger. “Hopefully, they will accept the request and make PCCI a member of IATF and its regional counterparts,” Milan said.