The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has endorsed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases a resolution from its regional chambers in Mindanao detailing suggestions for the resumption of economic activities in the island.
Previously, PCCI Mindanao submitted recommendation to mitigate the spread of COVID 19, as well as mechanisms to cushion the impact on MSME’s of business disruptions in the two (2) Resolutions endorsed by the PCCI National Board.
Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI Area Vice President for Mindanao, noted how the Mindanao chambers have been in the thick of the fight against the novel coronavirus since the pandemic started.
“Our LCCIs (Local Chambers of Commerce and Industry) in Mindanao have contributed to the distribution of food packs and supported the production of PPEs for health care workers and frontliners, and local Universities in the production of rubbing alcohol and sodium hydrochlorite (disinfectant) for key hospitals and offices,” Alegrio said.
“On top of this, our LCCIs initiated Rolling “Kadiwa” Stores in key cities and provinces which have enabled barangay residents to have access to basic commodities without needlessly exposing themselves in crowded super and public markets, thus helping LGUs enforce Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)” she added.
Not the least, Alegrio noted how the Regional Chambers and LCCIs established a Trade Information Exchanges and logistic network for communities under ECQ to provide basic commodities such as rice, vegetables, wet meat products, canned goods and alcohol to LGUs outside the main urban centers.
Resolution # 2020-003 noted how the LCCIs in Mindanao have been actively participating in the local Disaster Risk Management and Mitigation Councils and have advised their members across all sectors to prepare a rapid impact assessment on the displacement of workers as well as business disruption losses arising from the enforcement of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
Furthermore, the LCCIs have also been advised to prepare their respective Contingency and Recovery Plans on the following scenarios: 1) Extension of Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ); 2) Selective Lifting of the ECQ; or 3) Lifting of Travel Restrictions;
Among the measures endorsed for adoption under the resolution are expanding the membership of the IATF-EID to include private sector groups in the planning and formulation of specific guidelines on how the ECQ should be properly lifted in a manner that will not compromise the life and livelihood of the people;
For the IATF-EID to strictly enjoin the LGUs to enforce the quarantine measures to be consistent with the national directives, specifically on the exemption of vital and essential services like food, utilities and health in the areas where the ECQ cannot yet be lifted;
For the DOH, DA, & DTI to ensure the protection of the food supply chain in Mindanao – from production, manufacturing and logistics by giving workers in this sector first priority in mass screening, contact tracing, provision of quarantine facilities and eventually provision of vaccines;
For the DOF to prioritize funding allocation and procurement of services for all pending DPWH-DTI ROLL-IT projects to efficiently transport raw materials from agricultural areas to the main processing or manufacturing centers;
For DICT to make available to local/Private Telecommunications Companies, Cable TV, Internet and Value Added Service Providers their existing tower facilities and infrastructure including unused internet bandwidth, to fast track deployment of broadband internet services to the underserved areas of the country, thereby fulfilling its mandate of bringing information and communications technology to all Filipinos;
For DICT to enjoin NEA to roll back its recent rate increase in Pole Rental Fees collected through rural electric cooperatives, thereby reducing the costs for Telcos, Cable TV and Internet Service providers in the deployment of essential information and telecommunications services in the country;
For the Board of Investments and the LGUs to provide incentives to companies that will invest in health care-related projects including conversion of commercial spaces to quarantine facilities and construction of sanitary landfills, and for the importation of special equipment for the proper disposal of infectious and pathological wastes of hospitals and households;
For the DTI to engage LCCIs in the development, implementation and harmonization of economic stimulus programs in their respective localities and adjacent regions;
For Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to encourage commercial banks to allow restructuring and rescheduling of Current Loan Payments for both private and government banks, and to extend the due dates of Credit Card payments without penalties for a 3-month duration, irrespective whether the account is updated or not;
For the DOF to allocate funds from The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act for the purpose of absorbing the cost by the banks to lower the interest rate for new commercial loans to encourage new economic activities related to food production and manufacturing of health related equipment;
For the DTI to increase the Loan Availment Cap of the Small Business Corporation’s Enterprise Rehabilitation Facility from P500,000 to P25,000,000;
For the DTI to extend technical assistance and financial support to LCCIs in the preparation of Business Continuity Plans so that the same can be disseminated to MSMEs in their localities who may wish to apply for commercial loans through the Small Business Corporation;
For the DTI, DOST and DOLE to immediately implement Retooling and Re-Training Programs for MSME companies and workers of sectors belonging to non-essential goods and services;
For the DILG, DTI and DA to encourage LGUs in rural areas to give preference to the agricultural products of local farmers, fisher folks, and livestock producers over the usual processed food (canned goods and noodles) in the food assistance packs distributed to their constituents;
For the DOST to extend funding and technical support for Research and Development to City and State Colleges, Universities and Technical schools related to health care efforts that may directly impact the area’s COVID-19 response;
For the DOLE and POEA to subsidize the hotels and restaurants that may utilized as quarantine facilities for incoming OFWs once the travel restriction is lifted;
For the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its aligned agencies like TPB (Tourism Promotions Board) and TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure Estate Zone Authority) to create a Technical Working Group composed of tourism stakeholders/organizations to study and develop a Business Recovery Plan focusing on the domestic tourism market.
“Additional inputs may be considered in the next resolution once the IATF has released guidelines on the extension or selective lifting of ECQ,” Alegrio noted.
The resolution was signed in behalf of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry affiliate Chambers in Mindanao on 15 April 2020 by Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI Area Vice President for Mindanao; and the following PCCI Regional Governors with their respective areas: Arturo Milan (South Eastern Mindanao); Pete Marquez (Central Mindanao); Cioney Paqueo (Eastern Mindanao); Roderico Bioco (Northern Mindanao); Paul Gudmalin (Western Mindanao); Loreta Sy (South Western Mindanao); Aldrin Ibbo (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Mindanao) and Elpidio M. Paras, President of Promote NorMin Foundation.
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. (RMB)