MANILA - Millions of pesos in losses are estimated as the pandemic cancels the celebration of Chinese New Year on February 12, the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Sunday.
The group respects the capital city's prohibition of gatherings to prevent virus spread and will instead hold virtual celebrations, said FCCCI president Henry Lim Bon Liong.
"Meron kaming sariling celebration namin, puro virtual na lang. Sa social media, we’ll be greeting each other," Lim told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(We have our own celebration but virtual only. We’ll be greeting each other on social media.)
The cancellation of the celebrations will affect businesses, he added.
"Usually, 'di lang lion dance 'yan. Alam namin may procession din kami sa Sta Cruz, Binondo, Ongpin. Tapos along the way, binibigyan namin 'di lang Ang Pao, mga candies. Ngayon, wala na rin yun," he said.
(Usually, it's not only a lion dance. We also have a procession in Sta. Cruz, Binondo, Ongpin. Along the way we give out Ang Pao, candies. We'll no longer have those now.)
"Tsaka yung mag nagtitinda ng pang-swerte-swerte, apektado rin sila. I cannot estimate magkano nawala dyan, pero siguro, itong mga ganito, milyon-milyon din ang mawawala sa atin dito."
(Those who sell lucky charms will also be affected. I cannot estimate how much we'll lose, but it might be millions.)
Lim said the FCCCI respects the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte as regards the quarantine measures being implemented in the country, even as he personally hopes to see more people outside.
"In fact, I advocated 'spend, spend and spend'. Kasi, kailangan makagastos tayo para magkaroon ng benta. 'Pag may bentahan, malakas ang benta, yung mga factory can hire back their workers, so that they can produce more products," he said.
(We need people to spend so businesses could earn. If sales are up, factories can hire back their workers.)
"But then... walang pera naman mga tao. Paano naman 'yan? Kaya, we want the government sana to stimulate the economy," he added, citing a program in Taiwan.
(But then... people have no money. So how can they spend? That's why, we want the government hopefully to stimulate the economy.)
The group is "fighting very hard" to get the Chinese New Year to be declared as an official non-working holiday, Lim said.
"'Di naman talaga Chinese New Year lang 'to, kung di Lunar New Year (It's not really just Chinese, but it's also Lunar New Year). It is observed not only in China, but in Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, almost very other country in Asia," he said.
"But every year, we’re happy the President designated us a special non-working holiday."
The Year of the Ox is expected to be "good," according to Lim.
"Ang ox, palaging swerte naman... Pag may bull run ang stock market, ibig sabihin, tataas ang stock market... The Year of the Ox will always be good. Hopefully, the pandemic will be out soon," he said.
(The ox is always lucky. When there's a bull run in the stock market, it means it's doing great.)
"Hopefully, 'pag may vaccine na mga tao natin (Hopefully when our people are already vaccinated), things will go back to normal and business will be as usual."