CEBU

'Cebu can’t afford to go back to square one'

APPEAL. Business leader Virgilio Espeleta says everyone should work together to make sure that Cebu will not revert to a lockdown once again for the economy to breathe and sustain the livelihood of thousands of employees. (SunStar File)

THE second launch of the public and private sector-led Project Balik Buhay (PBB) is seen to ease the woes of businesses under the new normal by balancing the needs of the economy and health.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry immediate past president Virgilio Espeleta said Cebu could not afford to go back to square one.

“There should be treatment of the virus as well as economic activity with less risk of transmission. Let’s take small steps by looking at new supply chains, stimulus package, tax holidays and incentives. We have to achieve a balance of containment of the virus and a robust economy,” Espeleta said.

During a workshop output with the Cebu City economic team, Espeleta said they were able to identify the pain points brought about by the pandemic that should be addressed collectively. These were food security, health security, jobs and livelihood, business survival and rebound, disruption of education and social unrest and peace and order.

Espeleta stressed that everyone should work together to make sure that Cebu will not revert to a lockdown once again for the economy to breathe and sustain the livelihood of thousands of employees.

In his presentation, Espeleta explained that a prolonged halt of economic activity will paralyze everyone.

“The private sector will continue to suffer severe losses, and the micro, small and medium enterprises may be incapable of sustained employment as the local government units cannot sustain dole-outs to the marginal sectors and there are limited government resources that will capacitate agencies, leading to likely huge socio-political unrest and upheaval,” he said.

Because of this, Espeleta saw the need to boost consumer spending and confidence through the containment of the Covid-19, revival and reboot of businesses and re-employment.

There should also be massive and affordable testing and early detection, as well as information technology-enabled tracing under the new workplace standards such as the presence of a health and infectious prevention control officer, third party audit and contact tracing, new supply chain, stimulus package and increased treatment capacity. (JOB)


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