The Palawan International Chamber of Employers Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PCECII) believes that safety concerns should still be the primary consideration before allowing businesses to operate at their full capacity.
The local chamber was reacting to the position raised by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCCI) President Benjamin Yujuico encouraging the national government to already allow businesses nationwise to open at 100 percent capacity.
“You cannot open a business and limit it to only 30 to 50 percent because they will only lose money and would rather close; you cannot tell a restaurant to open 50 percent because 50 percent is not enough to pay the rent, utilities and employees; you cannot tell a manufacturing company to operate at below capacity and still require it to provide accommodation and/or shuttle services for its workers; and you cannot open businesses, even at phases, without allowing public transportation,” Yujuico was quoted by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) as saying.
Jeffrey Armedilla, the local chamber president maintained that local businesses should allowed to fully operate if there are no longer COVID-19 cases in the province and safety measures are in place.
“As long as safe ‘yong lugar, may zero COVID na, siguro they can allow naman. Ang decision naman is IATF ng national. Kung wala na tayong quarantine status, walang problema, we can go back to 100 percent. But dapat lagi tayong may safety protocols [pa rin],” Armedialla said.
He added that the government should also amplify contact tracing, testing, and isolating COVID-19 cases if businesses will fully operate.
Meanwhile, Yujuico in the same PNA interview noted that nearly 800 tourism establishments in Palawan have temporarily closed due to the ongoing pandemic.
However, Armedilla believes this number to be even higher. The Palawan PhilHealth office confirmed this week that 225 establishments in the province declared temporary closure, while 21 of the 225 declared permanent closure.
“The Palawan chamber has around 50-60 members, and we have yet to verify how many tourism establishments have done temporary closures. However, definitely more than 800,” he said.