TOP business leaders in Cebu say it is a relief that the whole island will continue to be under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in February despite the rising cases of Covid-19.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said now more than ever, the country should maintain a balancing act between lives and livelihood.
“Our gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 9.5 percent in 2020, the worst since World War 2. It is in its most fragile state and requires careful balancing. We have to learn how to live with the virus minus a lockdown even at a granular level, to sustain the economy and avoid permanent and irreparable damage,” Yu pointed out.
Yu said staying in MGCQ is just right considering that Cebu has sufficient Covid healthcare capacity, and established emergency operation centers across all local government units.
As of Friday, Jan. 29, the hospital occupancy rate for Covid-19 patients in Cebu was well below 25 percent, which is very far from the danger zone.
“Staying in MGCQ also bodes well for our economic recovery. The vaccine is coming, so we need to sustain with the precaution without lockdown in the next seven to 12 months, to be able to build back and come back stronger post-Covid,” he said.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said the chamber has been encouraging all to help in the fight against Covid-19.
“(MGCQ) is a great relief to the business. This for Cebu. Let’s keep the bayanihan spirit alive by practicing the safety protocols,” he said.
Filipino-Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy said everything is now at stake, as the Philippine economy continues to reel from its worst recession in decades.
“We have no choice. The health of the people and the health of the economy are at stake,” he said.
On Wednesday, Jan. 28, Cebu City’s active Covid-19 cases returned to the 1,000 level after the Department of Health 7 said the city recorded 1,051 active cases.
The last time Cebu City had active cases at the 1,000 level was on Aug. 25, 2020 when it recorded 1,212 active cases.
On Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that until Feb. 28, Cebu will remain under MGCQ, the most relaxed among the quarantine levels.
The country’s GDP declined by 8.3 percent in the last quarter of 2020, bringing the annual growth rate down by 9.5 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on Thursday.
This is worse than the 7.3 percent contraction in 1984-1985, when political unrest led to a recession, and the 0.5 percent decline in 1998 due to the Asian financial crisis.
However, the PSA said the country’s GDP posted a quarter-on-quarter growth of 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter, after shrinking by 11.5 percent in the third quarter and by 16.9 percent in the second quarter. / JOB with reports from MVI of SunStar Philippines.