Biz leaders want vaccine purchase fast-tracked

·2 min read

AFTER President Rodrigo Duterte said placing the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the lightest quarantine status, would not be done until the vaccination program starts, business leaders called for the hastening of the vaccine acquisition.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said local government units have been working hard to secure the vaccines.

“We are really hoping that once the vaccine is already on our shores here in Cebu, please, everyone, we should take it,” Taguiam said during an online forum hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry 7.

He said vaccination would boost economic spending.

The closure of businesses and unemployment amid the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in low consumer spending, he said, as consumers tighten their belts.

Taguiam emphasized that even if people would already be vaccinated, minimum health standards should still be practiced.

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has said he would not impose a city-wide lockdown despite the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city.

Recently, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said placing the whole country under MGCQ would reopen 95 percent of the economy by March.

Duterte, however, said without the vaccine, current community quarantine statuses will stay.

Earlier, Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy called for the hastening of the vaccine acquisition to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover.

Calooy said instead of lockdowns, vaccination programs should start to prevent further loss of jobs and hunger in the country.

“If you prohibit them (MSMEs), what will happen? They have to go out every day to conduct their businesses. If they are already vaccinated, the spread of local transmission can be stopped,” he said.

Eight places in the country are currently under the more restrictive general community quarantine classification: the Cordillera Administrative Region, National Capital Region, Batangas, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Iligan City. The rest of the country is under MGCQ. (JOB)