No more lockdowns please, says Philippines' largest business group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2021 06:27 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2021 10:55 AM

A view of the buildings at the Makati Central Business District on March 4, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
A view of the buildings at the Makati Central Business District on March 4, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA - The Philippines’ largest business group appealed to the country’s pandemic management task force to stop resorting to lockdowns to check the spread of COVID-19. 

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday said that while it recognizes that the full opening of the economy hinges on the success of the vaccination program, delays in meeting vaccination targets should not lead to new lockdowns. 

PCCI acting president Edgardo Lacson said the group hopes that the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases under Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr succeeds in ramping up the vaccination program soonest to achieve herd immunity.

“But in the most unlikely event that there will be slippages again on IATFs target dates due to events beyond its control, PCCI is appealing to Sec. Galvez to remove Lockdown from its toolbox of responses to catch up for slippages on target dates,” PCCI said.

The group made the appeal as the IATF said that it was looking at either extending the enhanced community quarantine over Metro Manila, which is set to lapse on Friday, or switch to the less strict, modified ECQ. 

“Lockdown creates an unintended consequence of business closures, rise in unemployment, poverty and hunger that drives people to suffer the indignity of begging, borrowing, and waiting for “ayuda,”” PCCI said. 

Government economic managers lowered their growth forecast for the economy to 4 to 5 percent on Wednesday, from an already lowered target of 6 to 7 percent, citing the impact of the new lockdowns. 

An estimated P150 billion is lost each week the National Capital Region is on lockdown, the country’s socioeconomic planning body earlier said. 

Meanwhile, the Philippines recorded almost 15,000 new infections again on Thursday.

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