THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s biggest business organization on Thursday, August 20, 2020, bucked quarantine protocols being imposed by the government against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), saying more people would lose their jobs if business activities are not allowed to fully resume.
The group also sought the inclusion of the business sector in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to enable the policy-making body to come up with a “holistic approach that will make it easier for businesses to resume operation and for workers to return to work”.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Friday, August 21, that any group is welcome to join discussions in the IATF.
He said, however, that the concerns of the business sector are brought up before the IATF by the government’s economic team, whose members regularly attend meetings.
The economic team is composed of the top officials of the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, and Department of Budget and Management.
“Officials of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) can therefore serve as resource persons on matters related to trade, business and the economy in the same way that IATF has invited health experts from different medical associations to give their inputs related to their field of expertise,” Roque said in an interview over state television.
In a resolution, the PCCI board of directors urged the government to consult the private sector before coming up with policy recommendations on lockdowns.
PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico said the policies being imposed by the IATF on businesses and workers are not realistic.
He said the directives to wear face shields in the workplace, physical distancing of at least two meters, and the designation of an isolation area of one room for every 200 employees are “simply not realistic in a production line setting”.
He also cited the stringent regulations on public transportation that limit the mobility of workers.
Commuters using public transportation are required to wear face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing.
Other concerns that PCCI listed are: