Biz group wants private sector in IATF

August 21, 2020

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has appealed to government to include the private sector in the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The PCCI Board of Directors passed a resolution asking the government to engage the private sector in consultations before coming up with new policies amid the country’s fight against coronavirus disease 2019.

“We are appealing for the inclusion of the private sector in the IATF. The IATF will be able to use the on-the-ground experience of the business sector to come up with a holistic approach that will make it easier for businesses to resume operation and for workers to return to work,” PCCI president Benjamin Yujuico said.

Based on the discussions with PCCI’s local chambers, Yujuico said businesses cited top challenges they are facing, such as requiring “impractical standards” in workplaces and inconsistent policies and regulations imposed by the local government on top of those implemented by the IATF.

“For instance, mandating the use of face shields for workers, the observance of two-meter physical distancing and the designation of an isolation area of one room for every 200 employees, is simply not realistic in a production-line setting,” he added.

The business group said the limited public transportation also burdens the workers.

“We acknowledge the hard work the Inter-Agency Task Force is doing to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We understand the precarious situation of our medical workers and front-liners. But we also need to stress that the longer our economy stays in its current state where businesses cannot function 100 percent, nor even up to 75 percent, the more protracted the recession that will follow and the more people will be permanently out of jobs,” the PCCI chief said.

Yujuico said the business group is asking the Congress “to act with urgency” on the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act bill, or the recalibrated Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act.

“During these difficult times, financial support for the affected firms to prevent job losses can help ensure that recent shocks do not cause permanent damage to our country’s productive capacity. We hope with the passage of Bayanihan 2 and also the CREATE, as well as full resumption of economic activities, we can get back on track to rapid growth,” Yujuico said. )