Trade group lobbies for full reopening of PH economy
The country’s largest business group is making another call to fully reopen the economy even without reaching herd immunity, which would be one of the resolutions the chamber is expected to submit to President Duterte at the end of a business conference on Thursday.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) —which lobbies mainly for small and medium enterprises that make up the bulk of its membership—has put the full reopening of the economy at the top of its 10-item wish list to Mr. Duterte, a copy of which was sent to the media in advance on Wednesday. It was followed by a call to the government to help the private sector keep jobs and create new ones. Avoiding recession
PCCI is “urging the government to fully open the economy now, even before we achieve herd immunity from COVID-19, to rescue, revive and rejuvenate commerce and industry before it irreversibly plunges into deep recession,” it read.
“We will not concede this projected future amid all the grim outlook from many sectors. We, at PCCI, believe we still have what it takes for a nation to become one of the most robust economies in the world. The Philippine business sector will lead this change,” said PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico in a statement on Wednesday. While other business groups called for the easing of quarantine restrictions during the pandemic, the PCCI went further by calling for a full reopening. It first made this call in a press statement on Sept. 8, around the time when the country was experiencing a surge in new infections and deaths. In PCCI’s statement back then, it said the public must “remove our overblown fear of this virus,” adding that some health experts opined that it seemed “impossible” to reach herd immunity because of a constantly mutating virus. It remains to be seen if the recent decline in new cases would make the government amendable to PCCI’s position this time around, especially now that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had been allowing more businesses to reopen. Declining infection rate
On Nov. 14, the Department of Health said the daily positivity rate was at 3.9 percent, the lowest in 18 months.
PCCI’s wishlist will be presented to Mr. Duterte at the concluding ceremonies of the 47th at Philippine Business Conference & Expo on Nov. 18, where the President is expected to deliver his concluding keynote address.
The resolutions covered 10 specific areas including the reopening the economy, job generation, internet connectivity, innovation advocacy, ease of doing business, education and infrastructure.