Private sector’s support ‘not sustainable’
MANILA, Philippines — While the private sector wants to help government survive the health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, overdependence on it could only result in “false hopes,” especially since many companies are barely getting by, a business leader warned.
“We all want to help. But if the idea is that we’re going to help to the level that there will no longer be an economy to come back to, I think that’s false hope,” said Arthur Tan, chief executive officer (CEO) of Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. (IMI), the manufacturing portfolio of AC Industrials, Inc.
The wholly-owned subsidiary of Ayala Corp. makes electronics for the global automotive, industrial, and aerospace market.
“Constantly just giving away everything, or asking private industry to support everything, is not going to be sustainable,” Tan said on Tuesday, during the first online general membership meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines, a business group made up of more than 1,000 CEOs and other top officials. Tan’s frustration is not without basis.
When the lockdown began mid-March, the Duterte administration relied heavily on the private sector to cushion the impact of the sudden halt of all economic activities on millions of households in Luzon.
Aside from millions in donated cash and goods, most companies continued paying their workers despite the temporary shutdown in operations. Like IMI, some companies continue to provide free food, lodging and other kinds of support to its workers who have volunteered to still report for work, despite reduced or nil profits because of the health crisis.