BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Five business groups in Negros Occidental are asking the city government of Bacolod to reconsider the curfew hours in the city.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday, the business sector appealed to the mayor to maintain the current curfew hours, which is from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
It was signed by Edgar Sy, president of Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., William Ong, president of Northern Negros Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., Henry Uy, chairman of Negros Occidental Filipino-Chinese Amity Club Inc., Alfonso Cu, president of Southern Negros Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., and Roberto Montelibano, president of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Leonardia earlier said he is asking the Sangguniang Panlungsod to consider that curfew in the city be set from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The business groups, in their letter to Leonardia, said they have yet to regain their footing from the negative impact of the economic downturn due to the necessary quarantine measures imposed earlier this year.
“The additional five-hour window to open businesses after regular working hours not only allows the people of Bacolod access to goods and services but is also crucial to keeping our economy afloat,” they said.
It added that the 8 p.m. curfew can mean reduced business hours and 40 percent less revenue that may lead to more businesses closing, increased joblessness, more people falling deeper into poverty and its knock-on effects on peace and order.
They also said that the Bacolod business community commits to cooperate with the more stringent implementation of the minimum health standards, instead of decreasing the business hours.
“We are in full agreement that quarantine measures are necessary to stop transmission in its tracks but the specific measures to be taken should consider the balance between slowing down the rate of infection and its impact on the economy,” the groups said.
Copies of the letter were also furnished to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilor Archie Baribar, and the news outlets.*