‘Businesses open to temporary shutdown’

FRANK CARBON, chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Erwin P. Nicavera via PNA/file)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) Executive Officer Frank Carbon said businesses in the city are open to a temporary shutdown to slow down the spread of the corona-virus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“If necessary, just like the fastcraft operation, we will temporarily shut down,” Carbon told Daily Guardian Wednesday.

Carbon said prevention of the COVID-19 spread is of paramount importance at this time.

“Our losses could be recovered in the future,” he added.

He also said that they will abide with the instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte but “we would request assistance from the local and national governments to mitigate our losses and be able to bounce back readily when the right time comes.”

Carbon also suggested that utility firms – water, power, and telecom – delay bills payment for 30 days without penalty or pay in instalments.

The national government can provide low interest/ longer repayment loan facility for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) so they can recover their losses quickly and provide jobs again.

Local governments can delay payments of business tax and other fees for 30 days or pay in instalments as well.

Carbon said the pandemic will definitely have economic fallout.

“Yesterday, we’re wary and worried. Today, we’re in panic mode,” he added.

It’s good that the local and national governments are beefing up their health care systems. But in a pandemic this scale, the government must take measures to help contain the volume of business failures.”

Carbon said local and national governments “should unveil measures that will keep our enterprises robust.”

He said overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will lose their jobs, tourism receipts have slowed down, operations of business processes outsourcing (BPO) firms might contract, and constructions will be held off.

Every effort must be exerted to prevent the virus problems from being compounded by a string of local business closures, he added.