British business group backs COVID measures seeking balance between health, economy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2021 11:10 AM | Updated as of Sep 13 2021 11:14 AM

Barangay watchmen and police keep watch at an entry point to an alley under granular lockdown in Brgy 7 in Caloocan City on September 10, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Barangay watchmen and police keep watch at an entry point to an alley under granular lockdown in Brgy 7 in Caloocan City on September 10, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Philippines should ramp up its vaccination drive while allowing fully vaccinated individuals to operate in order to stimulate the economy, the British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines said Monday. 

The British group also supports granular lockdowns instead of hard ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) so as not to further restrict economic activities, BCCMP executive director Chris Nelson told ANC.

"What we’re looking for is to support these granulated lockdowns. The key here is to support the healthcare at the same time the economy and avoid further lockdown," Nelson said. 

"We need to give people the opportunity to be vaccinated but we also want to be positive to those vaccinated because we need to also get the economy moving… it’s combining. Offering those vaccinations, allowing people to operate," he added.

Under its vaccination plan, the Philippines aims to inoculate 50 to 70 percent of the population by the fourth quarter. So far, 16.1 million have been fully vaccinated as of Sept. 9.

In terms of foreign direct investments (FDI), the government was urged to approve key reforms such as the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, which will give non-Filipinos more opportunity to own businesses in the country, the official said. 

Nelson cited that the Philippines only receives 4 percent of the total FDI in Asia. 

"We want to see that figure raised," he said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte in his last State of the Nation Address also called for the passage of the bills that would attract foreign investments. 

The country's FDI net inflows reached $833 million in June or 60.4 percent higher compared to the $519 million in the same period last year, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed. 

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