Cebu to reopen businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic, gov says
CEBU CITY –– Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia announced on Thursday the gradual reopening of businesses in the province amid the continuing fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In her speech during Cebu’s 451st founding anniversary, Garcia described the decision to open the economy as a “tough balancing act,” while continuing to put in place strict health protocols in all business establishments and offices.
Cebu is under modified general community quarantine, a more relaxed kind of quarantine compared to its independent units like Cebu City and its other major cities that remain under general community quarantine.
“Let us begin to resuscitate the Cebu economy that has been badly hit. We need to stand up. Lives need livelihood,” said Garcia in a short speech in lieu of the annual State of the Province Address.
Cebu was the first province to impose restrictions as early as February 3 when there was little information on COVID-19 yet, Garcia said.
Six months later, Garcia said the province could not continue spending all its resources for lockdowns. She said that the businesses and livelihoods need to reopen but with strict health protocols.
As of August 5, the Department of Health in Central Visayas has recorded 3,569 cases of COVID-19 in Cebu province, with 237 deaths and 2,252 recoveries.
The governor said she had set the direction for an enhanced countryside development by talking to financial institutions like Land Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines, and Philippine Veterans Bank to create an agricultural fund for farmers.
The provincial government will also help in the reopening of small and medium enterprises that are badly hit by the closures due to COVID-19.
“The state of the province is strong still,” Garcia said.
The total assets of the Cebu provincial government rose from P34.5 billion in 2018 to P202 billion in 2019, widening the gap as the richest province in the country.
Garcia attributed the multiple increases in the province’s assets after she ordered a re-appraisal of all its properties to the current market values after she assumed office in 2019.
While continuing to fight COVID-19, she said the provincial government would continue its road-concreting projects targeting some 250 kilometers of provincial roads.
Water projects would continue to be initiated by the provincial government too, she said.
There was no fanfare and grandiose celebration in this year’s anniversary of the province compared to previous years.
A flag-raising ceremony was first conducted followed by a Mass and then Garcia’s speech. The entire program ended in about two hours.
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