MANILA - Medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) should be given incentives to survive the capital region's 2-week strict lockdown, the country's largest business group said Tuesday.
More than 100,000 MSMEs were shuttered last year while an estimated 100,000 to 400,000 jobs will be lost this year, according to Edgardo Lacson, acting president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"The tax break is one incentive to help businesses. The other will be less investigation by authorities of ITR of MSMEs, give them at least 3 years grace period," he told ANC's Headstart.
"And then we will request also the Department of Labor and Employment to slow down the joint inspection of enterprises because that is disrupting to the operation of MSMEs."
Lacson said the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila will have the same impact as it had the past year and a half of intermittent lockdown.
"We compare our business to an airplane in the tarmac. We’re told to take off when the lockdown was lifted and now we’re again asked to land again," he said.
"Business might be losing the momentum we’ve started after the first lifting of the lockdown. The runway is getting longer and longer and it’s very difficult to take off."
No amount of preparation ahead of the lockdown will suffice, he added.
"We were told we will be given a week to prepare for the lockdown but we compare COVID-19 as a total war against humanity and no amount of preparation, no country will ever be prepared to go into war because there are many variables during wartime. There will always be shortfalls in our plans," he said.
Government, however, should have more of a medical than military approach to the pandemic, Lacson said.
"The border checkpoint I think is more military than pharmaceutical. There is more chaos in border checkpoint because workers coming to perform their job in Metro Manila, they spend more time in border control," he said.
The Philippines on Monday logged 8,167 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 1,605,762 infections. Of this figure, 2,615 or 3.9 percent were active, according to the health department.
The country's economy last year registered a -9.6 percent growth, its worst contraction since the end of World War 2.