ECONOMIC reforms will help the country recover fast in the midst of the pandemic, a top official from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said in a virtual conference.
PCCI president Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico told his fellow business leaders that besides gradually opening up businesses, various economic reforms will help the country bounce back to its pre-Covid momentum.
“This is a recovery plan that provides stimulus to boost confidence for both businesses and consumers to participate in economic activity. We cannot hide in our homes. We have to open the economy because this is the start of our recovery,” he said during the 29th Visayas Area Business Conference.
Yujuico was referring to the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy bill that contains a comprehensive plan to address the economic crisis, with an allocation of P1.3 trillion over three years and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 9, 2020.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been battering economies around the globe, closing businesses and laying off workers. The Philippines, for instance, wasn’t spared with its second quarter performance contracting 16.5 percent, the lowest since 1981.
Yujuico said these two bills will surely benefit the Visayas particularly its tourism industry.
Covid-19 impact in Region 7
Kenneth Cobonpue, chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7, said Central Visayas suffered a decline in investments by 63.5 percent from P7.89 billion in the first quarter of 2019 to P2.88 billion in the same period this year.
Cobonpue added that the region experienced a rapid increase of unemployment from 5.3 percent in the April 2019 survey to 16.7 percent in the April 2020 survey.
Unemployed workers in the Visayas which was at 174,000 in April 2019 rose to 519,000 in April this year.
The tourism industry also suffered an estimated P12.5 billion in forgone revenues in the first quarter and P23.2 billion in the second quarter of 2020.
To address this, the RDC 7 endorsed the Central Visayas Regional Recovery Program (RRP), the blueprint for recovery efforts from the Covid-19 enhanced community quarantine impacts.
The RRP is a multi-stakeholder collaborative effort for ensuring people’s health and well-being, while reviving the region’s businesses and employment towards long-term growth and development. / JOB