Resumption of public transport to revive economic activities

BUSINESS chambers in Cebu are looking forward to more means of transportation so more employees could go to work under the new normal, and slowly revive economic activities.

“We are hoping in the next few weeks, with more means of transportation, more economic activities will be available,” said Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam.

However, with the still-rising numbers of Covid-19 positive cases in the city, Taguiam said they are trying to approach the re-opening of businesses with precaution.

“The threat of more cases prevails. As we may all know, the chamber’s main thrust is to open up the economy but with all cautions on safety,” Taguiam told SunStar Cebu.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on June 5, said there were around 7.3 million Filipinos who lost their jobs in April 2020 as the economy ground to a halt due to the lockdown aimed at preventing transmission of the novel coronavirus.

In Central Visayas, Taguiam said, different companies have different situations.

“Unemployment is a tough topic. We are telling our members to stretch as much as possible to alleviate the plight of our workforce,” said Taguiam.

Steven Yu, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said public transportation is still a struggle for businesses.

“The more alarming issue is even with buses, social distancing is rarely practiced. We are worried that cases will rise further,” he said.

Yu stressed that the public and private sectors have to work together to achieve economic recovery.

“This pandemic is global in scope and made lives restrictive, and reduced operating capacities. It has created borders and dismantled tourism and globalization,” he said.

Yu pointed out that the private sector has been doubling its efforts to resuscitate the ailing local economy.

“The private sector will need to work doubly and triply hard to reverse the trend, harnessing out of the box thinking to attain sustainability. The journey towards recovery can be akin to a long and winding road. It will depend on the availability of a vaccine, and the evolution of the virus strain,” Yu said.

Four imperatives

Meanwhile, the country’s economic managers are pushing four legislative “imperatives” that include revitalizing the agriculture sector and tap

ping state banks to come to the rescue of distressed businesses, to help ensure that the economy recovers quickly from the coronavirus-induced crisis in a “strong, sustainable and resilient manner,” according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

Dominguez underscored the need for all proposed economic stimulus measures, including those pending in Congress, to be fiscally responsible and sustainable.

Dominguez said these four imperatives needed to spell a quick and strong bounceback for the economy are the following: (1) infusing more capital in government financial institutions to enable them to assist micro, small and medium enterprises and other companies hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic; (2) allowing banks to dispose of non-performing loans and assets; (3) reducing the corporate income tax rate from 30 to 25 percent and other investor-friendly reforms through the swift congressional approval of the recalibrated Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act; and (4) amending the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act to make it easier for banks to pump fresh capital into the farm sector.

“Even with a strong and resilient economy, our funds are not limitless. What we constantly underscore with various stakeholders, including Congress, is the need to have a realistic economic recovery program that is fiscally sustainable because we do not know how long this pandemic will last,” Dominguez said at the opening of the Sulong Pilipinas e-conference with the business community, Monday, June 8. / JOB WITH PR