BUSINESS communities in Western Visayas are now reinvesting despite the health and economic uncertainties they are facing to boost the region's economic growth and employment generation efforts.

This was stressed by Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI).

Carbon said ferry service companies in the Cities of Bacolod and Iloilo have added trips, aside from the recently launched direct ferry service from Iloilo and Negros Occidental to Batangas.

"Hotels, restaurants and resorts are reopening while the airlines resume their services for Bacolod route," he said, adding that development efforts are now ramping up as restrictions in light of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat continue to ease.

Among which are the expansion of growth areas by local vannamei or white shrimp growers.

The business leader said the crab canning factory in Manapla has already discussed its improvement plan with its banker.

Sugar planters are investing millions of pesos for farm mechanization and sugar mills are diversifying their field of operation.

The third telecommunications company has ordered millions of pesos worth of concrete posts for their overhead lines, he said, adding that power companies are also in discussion with their bankers for their billion-peso biomass plants.

Carbon, however, stressed that they need help, especially from the government sector in order to boost and sustain the businessmen's job generation efforts.

Businessmen need the help of the local government units to contain the spread of the virus.

The business sector believes that labor leaders along with the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Agriculture officials have to hold hands to control the prices of basic necessities within the reach of low-income households.

They also need the help of the police force and barangay officials to "hold-in-check" criminalities.

The sector is also counting on various government agencies that can help businesses thrive amid the pandemic.

Carbon said they need the Department of Public Works and Highways and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to prevent destructive flooding.

For the National Economic and Development Authority-Western Visayas, it has to integrate the local and national governments' development investments.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority can help through the development of industry-specific competencies including skills, knowledge and abilities, as well as competencies to attract manufacturing firms planning to leave China.

The MBCCI official said the Department of Science and Technology should help them by introducing new technology to upgrade the operation of industries -- currently and next wave industries -- that drive the region's economy.

"The Commission on Higher Education and State Universities and Colleges have to reconfigure their curricula to ensure that their training makes students suitable for the post-pandemic job market," he said, adding that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources should implement vigorously the Clean Water Act and start cleaning the seas.