Philippine Chamber bats for 'fully opening' economy as jobless rate spikes


Posted at Aug 20 2020 07:11 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2020 07:50 PM

A man hangs from the back of a container van along C-3 in Navotas City on August 11, 2020 amid the modified enhanced community quarantine. The lack of mass transport makes it difficult for many workers to move around, with some resorting to walking long distances. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The country’s biggest business organization on Thursday again appealed to the government to “allow the full resumption of economic activities” and make it easier for people to go back to work.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said that after the country’s jobless rate surged to over 45 percent, more people will lose their jobs “the longer the economy stays in its current state.”

“The top concerns of the business sector are the stringent regulation on public transportation that limits the mobility of workers; the policies and regulations imposed by local governments on top of, or inconsistent with those implemented by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases); the impractical standards that must be adopted in workplace settings; slow consumer confidence which negatively impact on sales and revenues; and, cash flow and liquidity,” PCCI said in a statement. 

PCCI said its members, made up of MSMEs and large enterprises, “expressed grave concern on government’s apprehensiveness to fully open the economy, the incoherence in the regulations of the IATF and local government agencies and the stringent guidelines imposed on enterprises that are allowed to operate under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ).”

The group also appealed to the government to consult the private sector before coming up with guidelines on lockdowns and the resumption of economic activities. 

“We are appealing for the inclusion [of] the private sector in the IATF,” said PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico.

PCCI said reopening the economy should be done in a coordinated manner where the movement of workers will be unhampered and businesses can resume operation in an efficient manner.

He added that the private sector’s experience on the ground can help the IATF come up with a holistic approach that will make it easier for businesses to resume operations and for workers to return to work.