'We have no choice': Filipino-Chinese business group backs NCR lockdown amid Delta variant threat

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2021 08:23 PM

'We have no choice': Filipino-Chinese business group backs NCR lockdown amid Delta variant threat 1
Motorists pass by at a checkpoint set up at the Batasan-San Mateo road on July 31, 2021. Metro Manila will be placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20 to curb the spread of the highly transmissible COVID19 Delta variant. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Federation Of Filipino Chinese Chambers Of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) said Tuesday its members fully support the new Metro Manila lockdown despite "bashing" from fellow businessmen. 

The group reiterated its support for the measure meant to arrest the spread of the more transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, FFCCCII president Henry Lim Bon Liong told reporters.

"Frankly, I received a lot of bashing also from our fellow businessmen. But this is a bitter pill for us to swallow," Lim said.

"We have no choice but to have this lockdown and hopefully the two-week lockdown will be enough for us to get the pandemic under control," he added. 

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved a recommendation by the country's coronavirus task force to place the National Capital Region under enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20. 

This, after the OCTA Research Group said hospitals in the NCR could reach full capacity if there won't be any lockdown.

Two weeks under lockdown "will create a difference" but it may not be enough to contain the Delta variant, said OCTA Research Group fellow Ranjit Rye in the same forum.

"It may take more than two weeks because if you look at the DOH, not the OCTA, the DOH models and forecasts and projections here, there are thousand and thousand of cases this month alone so let us be prepared," Rye said.

But "if we do our lockdown hard and we do it well, we might see a dip in cases, we might see a slowdown but it might not be wise to expect that after a hard lockdown we will open up right away," he said. 

The Philippines on Tuesday confirmed 6,879 additional COVID-19 cases, following several days of over 8,000 confirmed cases.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said he was first opposed to another lockdown as it would hurt the income of workers but the measure is crucial to prevent an "uncontrollable" surge of the Delta variant. 

Some 167,000 workers are expected to be affected by the enhanced community quarantine, according to the Department of Labor and Employment. 

Meanwhile, the economy could lose P105 billion each week that Metro Manila is in lockdown, based on the latest estimates, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua earlier said.

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