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Aboitiz exec: PH can ease COVID-19 impact via public-private partnership

/ 08:11 PM March 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The key to mitigating the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 to the country’s economy is a collaboration between the government and the private sector.

Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz said this recently as cases of COVID-19, which poses risk to both public health and the economy, continue to rise in the country.

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Aboitiz said collaboration between the public and private sectors could focus on keeping the economy moving and supporting the government’s information campaign on COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2.

“There is no question of the coronavirus’ impact on the economy,” Aboitiz said in a briefing to financial analysts last March 11.

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“It is during these times when the government and private sector must work closer together – really together to effectively mitigate the crisis,” he added.

Keep economy moving

According to Aboitiz, the implementation of infrastructure projects spearheaded by the government and private sector can aid in fighting the economic effects of the disease.

Aboitiz highlighted the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program and lauded the declaration of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on the continuous implementation of the program.

Aboitiz said his company is willing to invest to “build the infrastructure we Filipinos deserve”, noting that infrastructure programs can help create jobs, among others.

“One sure way to keep the economy stimulated is the immediate implementation of the government’s infrastructure program – especially the projects of national significance,” Aboitiz said.

“It generates jobs, it triggers economic activity, and there is definitely no question about the long-term benefits,” he added.

Likewise, Aboitiz said the government can also adopt policies that give preference to goods produced and services provided by Philippine manufacturers and companies.

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“We fully support the government’s actions (on) landing fees to help local airlines and extending financial support to the local tourism industry – two sectors badly hit by the coronavirus,” Aboitiz said, referring to Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade’s instruction to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Manila International Airport Authority to defer the collection of take-off, landing and parking fees of local airlines.

Aboitiz offered other ideas to the government such as the hiring of more locals for projects in the provinces, and sourcing of raw materials for infrastructure projects from Philippine manufacturers, among others.

Information drive

In terms of information dissemination, Aboitiz said the Philippine Disaster Relief Foundation could augment the Department of Health’s monitoring and information campaign on COVID-19, which outbreak originated in Wuhan City, Hubei province, in China in late 2019.

Currently, there are 52 cases of COVID-19 in the country. The World Health Organization already declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

KGA

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