Business leaders bare wish list for 2022

·4 min read

IMPROVED economy, healthcare capacity, digital infrastructure and more investments form part of the business sector’s wish list for this brand new year.

Steven Yu, president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the business community looks forward to better prospects this year coming from a rollercoaster ride in the past two years.

Yu said resuscitating the economy should also be one of the priorities that the new set of leaders should work on given how Covid-19 pandemic undermined the economy and robbed people of their lives and jobs.

In 2021, Yu said the country saw fluid and constant changes in quarantine restrictions. He said December was so much better and stable until some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao were devastated by Typhoon Odette on December 16. Odette’s wrath, he said, could dampen the country’s economic recovery.

Rising costs like fuel, raw materials and power as well as shrinking consumer purchasing power were also noted last year.

Yu added innovative management of the coronavirus pandemic is essential in helping the country’s full recovery from the economic slump. He wished the new set of leaders should put vaccination campaigns on top of their priority list as well as improved healthcare capacity.

“The vaccination is the single most promising opportunity that happened in 2021 that led to a significant drop in hospitalization. Lives are getting back to normal with the vaccination, although the threat of variants still persists,” said Yu, adding that Covid-19 vaccinations should continue on the back of the Omicron variant threat in the country.

The government’s Covid-19 Task Force has placed the National Capital Region under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15, 2022 following the increasing Covid-19 cases in the region.

“We saw an exponential rise during the past days because of the holiday activities where there were increased movement and compliance with minimum public health standards may have been disregarded. Local cases of the Omicron variant were also detected,” said acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Under Alert Level 3, establishments or activities shall be allowed to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity, provided that all workers of the establishments are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Digital infrastructure, business friendly leader

Besides Covid-19 containment, Rey Calooy, chairman of the Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc. wished for a more strengthened digital infrastructure this year.

Calooy said the recent Typhoon Odette exposed the areas of the Visayas and Mindanao to the vulnerabilities of technology vis-a-vis natural disasters.

Power, telco and water outage caused varying levels of business disruptions resulting in long queues in ATMs, gasoline stations, supermarkets, and other business establishments.

Calooy also appealed for more stimulus and access to credit for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) whose sector has been the biggest casualty during the pandemic and natural disasters.

“Government should also be the MSME’s biggest customers for products and service,” Calooy added.

Retail business owner Robert Go also wished for the country to open up the economy and live with the pandemic.

“The virus will not vanish but we can always plan and improve our lives by not keeping on implementing lockdowns,” said Go.

“I also wish for the next leader to be more business friendly and to not be a milking cow of businesses. We should go for a balance leader with a knowhow on economics, fair governance and not using force military power,” he added.

Pert Cabataña, president of Cebu IT-BPM Organization, said some headwinds are to be expected in the Philippines as it holds the national elections in a pandemic period.

“I do hope and pray that our people will do a better job of choosing its leaders this time. We have no one to blame but ourselves for the choices that we make in our leadership structure,” he said.

The business community is also calling to rev up tourism and boost agriculture and livestock to achieve self-sufficiency. It also called for more measures against cyberthreats.

For 2022, the Department of Tourism (DOT) sees “revenge travel” manifesting across all markets of the Philippine tourism industry.

The agency enjoins all tourism stakeholders to provide guests with high-quality and sustainable tourism practices.

“Today, tourism in the new normal cannot just be about visitor numbers and short-term economic gains. Instead, we must focus on providing guests with high-quality practices and practicing sustainability and inclusive growth for the tourism industry and the communities that depend on it,” said DOT Secretary Bernadette Puyat.

Meanwhile, during the first 10 months of 2021, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky reported that it detected more than 40 million phishing attacks targeting e-commerce and e-shopping platforms, as well as banking institutions.

“Indeed, in 2021 we have seen the introduction of new payment systems in various countries due to their unmatched convenience,” the company said. (KOC)

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