Cebu City’s revert to ECQ dismays business leaders
CEBU, Philippines — The business community in Cebu is saddened by Cebu City’s shifting back to enhanced community quarantine due to the spike of COVID-19 cases.
Although dismayed by the decision of Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), business leaders said they have to institute some more belt-tightening measures to save lives.
“A balancing act will be to give certain sectors business continuity despite ECQ/MECQ/GCQ. We picked up many learnings along the way and we should use them,” said Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Steven Yu.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Felix Taguiam said they need to reassess the situation in the days to come. He, however, said the priority should be to protect everyone from the virus and economic concerns should come second.
“We would like to remind businesses to put safety as their priority concern,” Taguiam said.
According to Taguiam, 50 to 60 percent of the business establishments in Cebu were back in operations from June 1 and have already adjusted to the new normal until the latest decision of the IATF to revert the city to ECQ.
Yu, on the other hand, expressed hope that the decision to revert to EQC was based on sufficient scientific evidence. He is also urging everybody, including the economic drivers, to submit to stricter quarantine measures.
“As to business, there will be some sacrifices but it is also for the interests of the employees and customers,” he added.
“During this short GCQ period, there was a jumpstart in business and over that 2-week period, business was bad as people are still adjusting and purchasing power is low. Based on feedback from businesses, compared to April-May period, there are also many absences related to fever, etc. so it is also important that we do not let our guard down,” Yu explained.
CCCI, in a survey, found out that 46 percent of Cebuano business respondents have already expressed willingness for joint ventures, 22 percent are also opening their companies for mergers, others (7 percent) are willing to sell their businesses.
Majority of the respondents are businesses with asset size below P150 million. Businesses also feared of eventually folding up if they remain closed or just half-way in operation for three months.
At least 26 percent, however, said they can survive in the next 12 months under difficult situation. More than half or 61 percent of the respondents also reported almost P10M losses. Some companies said they lost P26 million to P50 million in revenues during the ECQ period.
The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-7) reported to the Regional Development Council (RDC) a total of $299.92 million of foregone revenues during the first quarter this year.
These are revenue lost by accommodation sector, restaurant, food and beverages, local transport, retail and shopping. FPL (FREEMAN)