Pandemic puts brakes on some firms' expansion plans: ECOP


Posted at May 22 2020 10:26 AM

Streetsweepers take a rest near a fastfood restaurant that has been temporarily closed as authorities enforce the lockdown of 10 major major streets of Baclaran in Parañaque City on May 21, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Some businesses have postponed expansion plans due to uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines said Friday, citing its recent survey.

Sixty-seven percent of 347 companies polled in the Impact Assessment Survey said they were postponing expansion and investments at this time, ECOP Director General Jose Roland Moya told ANC. 

Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of the economy, is under lockdown until May 31, alongside other urban centers. The so-called enhanced community quarantine was dialed down to a modified ECQ last May 16, marking the first time in 2 months that some restrictions were eased.

"The conditions have very much worsened. The Department of Labor and Employment has already reported some very alarming figures and these figures are just the tip of the iceberg," Moya said.

Aside for deferring expansion plans, companies also complained of reduced demand due to lack of customers, difficulty in paying salaries, inability to meet deadlines and obligations, and disrupted supply chain, he said. 

Employers are also worried over their worker's well being, he said.

Under the modified lockdown, select Metro Manila-based companies are allowed to operate at reduced capacity. Moya said it could take "a lot more time" before some firms resume operations. 

Some 2.6 million workers have been displaced temporarily or permanently as of May and unemployment due to COVID-19 could go beyond 5 million, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.