PCCI expresses hope for business’ reopening

The deep impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to the economy has been widely observed and discussed around the world. As the fight against this crisis continues, both the global and local economic situation, as well as the outlook upon the end of the crisis, is gradually being unraveled.

 

Keeping this conversation going, the first iteration of BUSINESSWORLD INSIGHTS: An Online Forum Series, held last April 29, shed light on the current situation of the Philippine economy in light of the present crisis and the direction it is headed to when the dust of the pandemic settles.

 

Reopening of business hoped

 

For PCCI President, Amb. Benedicto Yujuico, who was part of the distinguished panel of resource persons, the pandemic is forcing businesses to explore all possibilities to overcome the impacts of the crisis due to quarantine regulations.

 

Yujuico said small firms are expecting from the government drastic measures concerning financial assistance as the health crisis alters the economy.

 

“In the short term, our members are requesting support in the forms of tax breaks and loan assistance and a review of processes to accelerate the movement of goods,” he said.

 

Yujuico also observed that while MSMEs are very thankful for the avowed support of the government, they are much aware that this assistance will not be sustainable in the long run.

 

“It is not that they are not thankful. It’s that they are worried. They know whatever assistance is given to them, it’s not sustainable, and so they want to be able to help themselves. That is why they want to open as soon as they can and they want to try,” he said.

 

This pandemic, according to Mr. Yujuico, should teach the country to work together in fighting an enemy they cannot see.

 

“Each and every Filipino must realize that we have a common enemy to fight, and to win this war we have to act as one and be united as a nation to achieve a common goal,” he said. “If we do this, I think we will overcome.”

 

Moreover, he proposes that strong incentives be given to health professionals in order to keep them from going abroad to seek employment opportunities and fulfill their dreams.

 

“If we have all of these health workers here, the Philippines will be better able to cope with whatever pandemic there is,” he said.

 

Mr. Yujuico also raised the need to utilize technology and innovation to address this kind of crisis, such as in implementing a national citizen registration system, using artificial intelligence for contact tracing and early hotspot risk detection, and taping on big data for national monitoring of health statistics.

 

“We do have the young people now in our country that know how to do this,” he added. “So it is the challenge of the private sector and the government to try to find who these people are, utilize their talents, and put them to good work.”

 

Click here for the full report on BusinessWorld Insights: the Philippine economy during and after COVID-19.

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