Concepcion: Time to further ease Metro restrictions
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion is pushing the government to take the next major step to get the economy back on track by putting Metro Manila under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in October.
“We are already going into the holiday season, which is a time of high consumption and retail activity,” he said in a statement.
The Christmas season in the fourth quarter is an opportunity for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to recover some of their losses, Concepcion said.
Backed by business groups
“A strong end this year is also critical for us to prepare and accelerate the economy next year. We need to take the risk, open up the economy safely, and move toward MGCQ so that some economic activity may continue and businesses, especially MSMEs, can resume operations under a controlled environment,” he said.
He said his proposal had the support of large business groups like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Franchise Association, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (Affi), Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) and Chamber of Thrift Banks.
The Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) also supported the less restrictive quarantine to bring the economy back on its feet, given that Metro Manila accounts for 36 percent of the nation’s economy.
“Restraining its potential to help the national economy move forward is similar to killing the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs,” the PFA said in a statement.
PRA president Rosemarie Ong said her group, which represents an industry that is one of the country’s biggest employers, also backed the “opening up and loosening the controls for business to operate more efficiently and productively under a modified GCQ so that we can all contribute to a faster economic recovery for our country.”
RBAP president Elizabeth Carlos-Timbol echoed the same sentiment, saying it was “high time” Metro Manila was placed under MGCQ.
“We need to loosen the stranglehold on our economy,” she said. “Economic activities should not be disrupted to allow the normal flow and delivery of goods, farm products and services to support our clients.”
Survival vs health
“We, the banks have to rationally hold the line as we cannot trade off economic survival vs health. Clearly, it is not the choice of one or the other, but a calibration,” Timbol said.
Affi president Jorge Noel Wieneke said his group welcomed the opening of the economy “but appeals to our fellow entrepreneurs to have safety measures in place.”
“We commit to the government’s thrust of reboosting our economy as this is crucial to the survival of all but set controls that will protect our businesses and consumers,” he said.
Fr. Jose Victor Lobrigo, private sector representative in the Microfinance NGO Regulatory Council and president of SEDP Inc., said he supported the call. Under MGCQ there would be a “balancing” of life and livelihood amid the pandemic, especially during the Christmas season, he said.
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