Philippine government asked to reopen economy as one million jobs at stake

Photo by Paolo Barcelon

The discussion about the dilemma between curbing the coronavirus spread and avoiding a near-collapse of the economy with far-reaching consequences for the population is reaching the Philippines.

And the choice is not an easy one. Even Donald Trump said it would be “without question the biggest decision I’ll have ever had to make.”

“It could lead to death, but staying at home leads to death, also,” he noted.

In the Philippines, Teresita Sy-Coson, member of the influential family of late business tycoon and billionaire Henry Sy who helps run an empire ranging from banking to retail under SM Investments Corp., advocated the “gradual reopening” of the economy to allow businesses to operate at least at 50 per cent capacity to protect jobs.

Around 42,000 companies affected by lockdown

More than one million workers are currently affected by temporary closures, prompting 98 per cent of almost 42,000 companies to seek assistance for their employees, the Labour Department said in a statement on April 12, adding that about a quarter of the affected were in the capital region.

A breakdown included 719,649 workers in 31,612 establishments that halted operations and 366,404 workers in 10,224 enterprises that had to go into flexible work arrangements. The majority of affected workers were in manufacturing, hospitality, restaurants and tourism-related sectors.

“If all the industries can start operating [at] 50 per cent, including transport, with all the medical precaution like making test kits more available and disinfecting measures and sanitation safeguards, then we can gradually increase the employment after the lockdown,” Sy-Coson told Bloomberg News.

Reopening business was also important to help absorb Filipino workers returning from abroad, she added.

Meanwhile, Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello asked big businesses on April 12 to continue paying their employees amid the lockdown.

Photo by Paolo Barcelon The discussion about the dilemma between curbing the coronavirus spread and avoiding a near-collapse of the economy with far-reaching consequences for the population is reaching the Philippines. And the choice is not an easy one. Even Donald Trump said it would be “without question the biggest decision I’ll have ever had to make.” "It could lead to death, but staying at home leads to death, also," he noted. In the Philippines, Teresita Sy-Coson, member of the influential family of late business tycoon and billionaire Henry Sy who helps run an empire ranging from banking to retail...

Photo by Paolo Barcelon

The discussion about the dilemma between curbing the coronavirus spread and avoiding a near-collapse of the economy with far-reaching consequences for the population is reaching the Philippines.

And the choice is not an easy one. Even Donald Trump said it would be “without question the biggest decision I’ll have ever had to make.”

“It could lead to death, but staying at home leads to death, also,” he noted.

In the Philippines, Teresita Sy-Coson, member of the influential family of late business tycoon and billionaire Henry Sy who helps run an empire ranging from banking to retail under SM Investments Corp., advocated the “gradual reopening” of the economy to allow businesses to operate at least at 50 per cent capacity to protect jobs.

Around 42,000 companies affected by lockdown

More than one million workers are currently affected by temporary closures, prompting 98 per cent of almost 42,000 companies to seek assistance for their employees, the Labour Department said in a statement on April 12, adding that about a quarter of the affected were in the capital region.

A breakdown included 719,649 workers in 31,612 establishments that halted operations and 366,404 workers in 10,224 enterprises that had to go into flexible work arrangements. The majority of affected workers were in manufacturing, hospitality, restaurants and tourism-related sectors.

“If all the industries can start operating [at] 50 per cent, including transport, with all the medical precaution like making test kits more available and disinfecting measures and sanitation safeguards, then we can gradually increase the employment after the lockdown,” Sy-Coson told Bloomberg News.

Reopening business was also important to help absorb Filipino workers returning from abroad, she added.

Meanwhile, Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello asked big businesses on April 12 to continue paying their employees amid the lockdown.

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