Group asks 'prudence' from gov't as 11th hour policy shift stuns workers, businesses

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2021 05:16 PM

Workers dine at a food stall along a busy road in Sta. Ana, Manila on August 18, 2021. Despite the implemented enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) since August 6, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Aug 17 that a DOH analysis showed 39 percent more mobility of people during this year’s ECQ compared to the previous ones. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Workers dine at a food stall along a busy road in Sta. Ana, Manila on August 18, 2021. Despite the implemented enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) since August 6, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Aug 17 that a DOH analysis showed 39 percent more mobility of people during this year’s ECQ compared to the previous ones. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — A business group on Wednesday called on government to be "prudent" in its implementation of quarantine protocols following its 11th-hour policy reversal Tuesday night that left businesses and workers stunned. 

In a statement, the Philippine Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said authorities must realize the gravity of their pronouncements. 

"Authorities must be prudent in prematurely announcing half-studied policies or policy shifts as they have tremendous impact on business operations and people’s daily lives,” said PCCI acting president Edgardo Lacson.

On Tuesday night, hours before Metro Manila was scheduled to shift to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) under which some business are allowed to operate and increase capacity, the government cancelled its implementation as it irons out rules on a new approach.

This means the capital region would stay under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine until Sept. 15.

According to Lacson, this last minute shift has financial consequences on businesses that already prepared to operate under a more relaxed quarantine. 

"There is a huge financial cost on business enterprises when plans and preparations are dislocated by the last minute cancellation or postponement of the anticipated relaxation of the quarantine protocols... Authorities must be careful in recklessly raising public expectations that will not be matched by the outcome," he said.

"There is a risk that it might cause disappointment followed by frustrations and could trigger depression and despair," he added.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government said Wednesday guidelines for the implementation of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila would be released soon.

"I would expect, in the next 2 to 3 days ay mare-release na po 'yun (it will be released)," Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more on iWantTFC