Vice President Leni Robredo said on Wednesday business owners and employers must reorient their work systems and technologies to withstand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
During the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 46th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition, Robredo highlighted the demands of the new normal for businesses to look for long-term solutions.
“It might be more strategic and even more beneficial if we look at the long term already, reorienting all our systems and technologies to conform with the demands of the new normal, bearing in mind that we might never go back to exactly where we used to be,” she said in her online keynote speech.
The vice president believes the strategy to beat the COVID-19 pandemic is through innovation and collaboration.
“Innovation stirs growth, and creates opportunities where none previously existed. In the face of challenges and threats, it transforms into a tool for survival,” Robredo said.
“We cannot shrink back into bubbles of self-preservation and hope to weather the storm alone. The task: To reach out, knowing that the only way through any crisis is together,” she stressed.
Robredo noted while the most vulnerable Filipinos suffer from pandemic, everyone gets affected, so employers should take concrete steps to keep their companies afloat and protect their workers.
She cited the Asian Development Bank (ADB) survey in July that showed about 71.2 percent of micro, small, and medium enterprises temporarily closed down due to the health crisis. MSMES account for more than half of the jobs in the country.
“When MSME’s fold, the jobs go with them. And when wages stop, families go to sleep fearful of where they will get the next meal. Anxiety builds up, both because of the threat of infection and the difficulty in meeting basic needs,” she said.
The Vice President suggested measures on how businesses can cope during the pandemic, among which is sourcing their needs from small and local producers.
In the food industry, she said there should be “no shortage of local farms to tap” and they can be empowered with “knowledge to grow better quality produce, which in the long run helps us give better value as well to our clientele.”
“At a time of great need such as now, helping each other should take precedence over growth and profits,” Robredo added.