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Davao City, Philippines

GenSan biz chamber seeks resumption of economic activities

October 01, 2020 - Thursday 3:10 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image Elmer Catulpos, president of General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (Photo grabbed from Standout GenSan Facebook page)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The business community, citing the need to save the “faltering economy,” has appealed to the city government to reconsider the extension of the general community quarantine (GCQ) here until October 15.

In a position paper submitted to the local government on Wednesday afternoon, the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GSCCCII) called for the immediate recall of the movement restrictions and border lockdown, as well as allow the full resumption of economic activities.

It urged local authorities, especially the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, to abide by the national government’s decision to place the area under modified GCQ.

Elmer Catulpos, GSCCCII president, said while they support the city government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the business sector has suffered these past months due to the implementation of health and economic restrictions.

Catulpos noted that many people across local industries have lost their jobs and sources of livelihood.

“In all practicality, Covid-19 is not the only enemy, as some would portray the current situation, but hunger and poverty (as well) that are currently looming so dangerously with the present state of our faltering economy,” he said.

Catulpos asked the city IATF to give its utmost attention to striking a good balance in addressing the health concerns and the jobs that are in peril in the wake of the continuing pandemic.

“We believe (in) the felt need to save the economy, and keep it moving and creating jobs, and source of livelihood while strictly adhering to health and safety protocols instead of cowering in fear of Covid-19,” he said.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Catulpos said they are also raising the sentiments of the working public with their call.

He cited the extension of the GCQ, which was based on Executive Order 46 issued by Mayor Ronnel Rivera, has also drawn opposition from ordinary workers and residents since it was released on Tuesday afternoon.

“We don’t need a lockdown to defeat Covid-19. We already have the necessary protocols to do that,” Catulpos said, adding that strict adherence to minimum health standards, such as the wearing of face mask and face shield, regular hand sanitation, and the observance of safe physical distancing has been proven effective in controlling the spread of the disease.

Rivera assured that the local government, through the city IATF, has been considering inputs from various sectors.

He said the decision to extend the GCQ was based on a comprehensive assessment of the city’s Covid-19 situation and its impact on the welfare of local residents.

“We are doing a balancing act to both health and economic aspects,” Rivera said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He added that the city’s medical community, through the local chapter of the Philippine Medical Association, also has a standing request to place the area under the stricter enhanced community quarantine.

As of Wednesday night, the city’s confirmed Covid-19 cases have reached 354, with 13 deaths and 182 recoveries.

Covid-19 cases in the city increased by 348 percent since the city government declared local transmission of the disease last August 31. Richelyn Gubalani