The business community said the new granular lockdown approach to containing the spread of coronavirus is a step in the right direction stressing this should help businesses reopen further, and hopefully a quicker economic recovery.
“The proposed granular lockdown by government is a step in the right direction, this can help businesses and our economy to recover faster,” said Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) President Henry Lim Bon Liong.
Lim said the new approach – granular lockdown – is expected to allow more establishments to open further. “The granular lockdown is better, we need to adjust and learn to live with the pandemic. This shall bring back more jobs, even create more jobs. This will jumpstart a very strong Philippine economic recovery,” he added.
The leader of the Filipino-Chinese businessmen in the country estimated the new approach would restore lost jobs and create millions of jobs, especially that the Christmas season is just around the corner.
“I foresee a million or several millions of jobs restored and added and even created in these ‘ber’ months if we do this granular lockdown well, and if we combine that with faster and increasing vaccinations,” he added.
Economic recovery will also be aided by the country’s socioeconomic and demographic fundamentals, which he described as “very positive” and “excellent” government fiscal and monetary policies.
Lim likewise recognized that in reviving the domestic economy, this should not be at the expense of public health even as he emphasized the need to strictly implement the minimum public health standards and mass vaccination.
Meantime, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said that a granular lockdown maybe a baby step towards full opening of the economy, but it is a marked improvement from a regionwide lockdown.
“It is also an indication that government now realizes that regional lockdown is not a solution but the problem,” said PCCI Acting President Ed Lacson, who is also chairman of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines.
Still, he said, there is a need to restore people and goods mobility to fully open the economy to allow businesses to restart, revive, restore jobs and return to normal.
To achieve this, Lacson urged for an acceleration of the vaccination program and achieve 100 percent herd immunity and for all to continue observing prescribed health protocols, testing and tracing, and the quick approval of alternative medicines to end the “overblown fear.”
Although the business sector was hopeful of positive impact from this new lockdown system, Lacson said this approach is a “half measure that will probably yield half success compared to the full opening of the economy.”
He said that results of this initiative can only measured after one quarter of implementation.
“Business wants this temporary experiment to succeed, but government must be relentless in preparing for a full opening of the economy to ensure that no one is left behind,” he added.
Francis Chua, founding chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, said a granular lockdown is a lot better than a blanket lockdown.
Chua, however, lamented that “Businessmen who run the economy is never consulted. If only they did, they will know that all businessmen are against the total lockdown.”
He also suggested that government give incentives to business to import vaccines.