2 Cebu businesses shut down temporarily

AT LEAST two establishments in Cebu have temporarily closed down due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak on their businesses.

The Department of Labor and Employment-Central Visayas (Dole 7) said a total of 64 employees were affected by the closure of the establishments described by Dole 7 as a restaurant and a manpower services agency.

Luchel Taniza, Dole 7 information officer, refused to name the establishments.

“We still have no idea of when they will resume their operations,” she said in Cebuano.

Aside from the closure of the two establishments, several businesses in the region have resorted to flexible work schedules for their employees to minimize their operating expenses.

As of Wednesday, March 11, 2020 a total of 2,859 employees in Central Visayas had already been affected by the flexible work arrangement as one of the measures to mitigate Covid-19’s economic effects.

“This is only as of March 11 and we are still continuing to consolidate reports,” Taniza said.

In Cebu City, City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) officer-in-charge Jerone Castillo said financial institutions can appeal to the mayor to defer the implementation of the City’s recent increase in business tax rates imposed on all financial institutions.

Castillo’s advice came as the Cebu Bankers Club (CBC), in a statement, said this was not the right time for the City Government to impose higher tax rates on banks and other financial institutions because of the effects of the Covid-19.

Castillo said the CBC may appeal to the City to implement the increased tax rates “at a much later date after we shall have obtained normalcy from the effects of Covid-19.”

Mayor Edgardo Labella, in another interview, said he encourages the CBC to send him a letter so they can discuss the matter.

“I am open to talk to them. I understand their sentiment,” said Labella.

The recently approved amendment of the City Omnibus Tax Ordinance mandates an increase of the business tax rates on all financial institutions operating in Cebu City from 50 percent of the one percent of their gross receipt to 75 percent.

The amendment was approved by the City Council on March 4, 2020, two days before the reported local transmission of Covid-19.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, author of the amendment, said he understood the sentiments of the financial institutions as the business sector has been suffering from the economic effects of the Covid-19.

However, Garcia said the implementation of the new law was now in the hands of the executive department. (WBS, JJL)