BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
The business sector in Bacolod City is not too keen that the city reverts to enhanced community quarantine amid the rising COVID-19 cases.
Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday they feel that “we are in the middle of two big storms, drowning in the sea and we have no seaport to dock.”
He was referring to the country’s economic and health situation as the two big storms.
Two groups of doctors in Negros earlier appealed to the National Inter-Agency Task Force to place Bacolod back under an ECQ for two weeks to help contain the virus, enable the healthcare system to recuperate, and to give time to institute and implement appropriate interventions.
Carbon said if ECQ happens, more companies in the city will go under and will not survive, especially if the lockdown will last for weeks or a month.
He said many companies have shut down due to the crisis. “People are losing their jobs which could lead to poverty,” he added.
He said they are happy with the decision of the local government to lock down areas with positive cases.
“We have to localize the lockdown. Let’s put the affected sitios or puroks in a lockdown, and not the whole barangay,” he said.
He said if there is a lockdown, it would entail expenses for the city for swab tests, contact tracing, and provisions to affected families.
He said this would be manageable compared to putting the whole city under ECQ, adding that the local government has to assist around 60,000 vulnerable households when put in lockdown.
For his part, businessman Crispin Chua said, “We have to accept that the old normal is never coming back”. He added that people need to take self-protection really seriously.
He also said the city government has to continue with the curfew, as well as implement the liquor ban to eliminate unnecessary gatherings.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who chairs the city Inter-Agency Task Force Against Covid-19, in a radio interview yesterday, said the appeal of the doctors is not easy considering that there is a need to balance the city’s health and economic situation.*