BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Five major business groups in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City have recommended courses of action for local governments to take in order to keep the economy afloat in the midst of the pandemic.
In a position paper, the business groups suggests that the Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Small Business Corporation, which already have recovery and rehabilitation funds for businesses, farmers, and fishermen should infuse capital into livelihood and businesses so that they can re-open and preserve jobs.
The group also proposes that LGUs must supplement the national government’s interventions through local initiatives that will prop-up the purchasing power of the populace.
“Create cash for work or food-for-work programs while filling the need for manpower in many local government initiatives such as managing the health risks brought about by the pandemic,” the group cited as its third proposition.
“If necessary train and provide new skills to those whose skills may not be aligned with the available work opportunities with the help of training institutions or other businesses,” the position paper stated.
Lastly, a price-freeze ordinance on basic and essential items is necessary to ensure that no one can take advantage of the situation and give families access to basic necessities, essential goods and services, the group said.
About 80 percent of the business community in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, which are small and micro enterprises, are the most affected. Many that were considered non-essential businesses were forced to close and may be unable to re-open without assistance, the group said.
If the economic suffering were prolonged, people, families and communities will be adversely affected, especially the poor which comprise about 90 percent of the population.
Many will fall deep into poverty, in more ways than one – undernutrition/malnutrition, indebtedness, and lack of education, it added.
While waiting for the financial economic stimulus fund from the national government, local government units (LGU) must work quickly to re-capitalize employers – the small and micro-enterprise, the group said.
The position paper was signed by Edgar Sy – president of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., Henry Dy – chairman of Negros Occidental Filipino-Chinese Amity Club Inc., Roberto Montelibano – president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, William Ong – president of Northern Negros Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., and Alfonso Cu – president of Southern Negros Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.*