Business leaders back granular lockdown

Business leaders on Wednesday said the imposition of granular lockdowns will be better for the economy.

“We can’t comment yet on the granular but I think it’s better. We believe also that the granular lockdown is going to be beneficial because it doesn’t close large swaths of areas that will prevent people from working or selling goods,” said Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary General Ruben Pascual during the “China-Asean Relations: Realizing the RCEP’s potential” forum on Wednesday.

THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) earlier ratified the guidelines for the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns with new alert levels system to bring down Covid-19 cases.

The new scheme will begin today, September 16.

Granular lockdown, a “micro-level quarantine” for areas tagged as “critical,” could be declared regardless of alert level. It shall be in place for not shorter than two weeks or 14 days.

“I think that should work. I believe that is how some countries like Vietnam and Taiwan were able to contain the spread of the virus by really zeroing in where the spread is and hopefully this will finally be the decision that the government will take,” said Pascual.

Pascual said PCCI has been very vocal against the implementation of any lockdown.

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“We really believe it has become the problem, not the solution,” he said.

He also cited the need to bring back businesses’ confidence on how the government handles the Covid-19 crisis.

“What needs to be addressed right now is that the confidence of business people has to return. This is the one that we have lost, the confidence of businessmen on how the government handles the Covid responses. This is where that needs to be recovered,” said Pascual.

Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. President Henry Lim Bon Liong, for his part, also opposed the imposition of lockdowns and backed the proposal to implement “bakuna bubbles.”

“This [lockdown] will not work for the economy. You’re saying that you would like to choose between lives and the economy. If we lose the economy more lives will also be lost, that’s the real talk at the moment,” said Liong.

“I agree with [Presidential Adviser] Joey Concepcion that those who have been fully vaccinated, should be given incentives now for them to move freely around. We should not try to use discrimination against those non-vaccinated, but we would like to make it known that this will be an added incentive for those who have been vaccinated so that there will be more people now that will agree to be inoculated,” he added.

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