The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Mindanao has started implementing its key strategy as mandated in the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Economic Cluster.
“In the wake of all the community quarantines and lockdown of LGUs , I have outlined the Business sector Response to COVID -19 through the Key Strategy of Planning Regional (through the Regional Disaster Risk Mitigation and Management Council) and Acting Local through the Local Government Units (LGUs-city, province, municipality, barangay),” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI Area Vice President for Mindanao.
“Our main objective is to secure our food supply chain and support initiatives to protect our healthcare personnel and front liners through the production of locally made Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs),” Alegrio stressed.
“As the voice of the business in Mindanao, PCCI will endeavor to provide regular updates to the business community on government directives especially on logistics issues. I encourage each local chamber to provide/share news, reports, and best practices particularly on food security. I will also appreciate any inputs or possible solutions from the group,” she added.
As a complementary measure, PCCI is also coordinating with local government units (LGUs) the deployment of rolling stores for each municipality to reinforce the community quarantines and lockdowns now enforced in many localities, by distributing relief packs to individual households, especially the most vulnerable sectors in the informal economy.
Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce headed by President Elian Macala has partnered with the Lanao del Sur provincial government, the line agencies of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM), and some Meranaw businessmen to launch its Rolling Stores project.
According to a MindaNews report filed by Rosslaini Alonto, the rolling stores sell basic necessities such as rice, eggs, vegetables and spices, dried fish, cooking oil, chicken, bread, over-the counter medicines, LPG, purified water, diapers, toiletries although with limits so as to cover as many families in the municipalities who wish to avail of the products. All goods are sold at suggested retail prices.
Seven mobile stores were initially dispatched to the towns of Marantao, Taraka and Bacolod Kalawi on Monday, Lumba Bayabao and Binidayan on March 25 and Piagapo on March 26 and were supposed to go to the different towns of Lanao del Sur every day but were unable to proceed due to the Iligan City travel ban.
In line with its support initiatives to protect healthcare personnel and front liners, PCCI is also coordinating the local production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) with community production lines for PPEs which is now being undertaken by various volunteer organizations in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Davao , Zamboanga, Butuan , Iligan, and Surigao.
“We have emailed to our individual chambers designs/templates of face masks,/face shields and protective suits for their reference,” Alegrio noted.
As a complement to this, the local chambers are also networking with colleges and universities whose chemical laboratories are producing alcohol for distribution to front liners in local hospitals and chamber members following the experience of Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) whose chemistry laboratories successfully began production of 70% isopropyl and 70% ethanol alcohol which were donated for the use of front liners at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, the only COVID-19 referral hospital in Region X.
“The Oro Chamber is assisting Xavier Ateneo’s alcohol production through material sourcing of absolute alcohol, the raw material for the isopropyl and ethanol alcohol being processed for the NMMC,” Alegrio said.
Not the least, she reminded the chambers accountability to the individual workers of their respective business establishments, the community where they are situated, and securing their workplaces against the virus.
“The first responsibility of business is to take care of its workers, then to the Community to where the company is located by providing social amelioration, financial assistance and ensuring it follows the DOH guidelines on sanitation and disinfection of the workplace,” Alegrio emphasized.
There are about 45 PCCI local Chambers of Commerce (LCCIs ) in Mindanao, around 90 percent of whose members belong to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) whose capitalization range from P3M-100M with large companies making up some 10 percent of chamber members.