Multi-sectoral data gathering to enable Iloilo business sector’s post COVID-19 recovery

The services sector in Iloilo City, particularly hotels and restaurants, downplayed the impact of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease as booking cancellations remained minimal compared to other key cities in the country. (DG file)

By Ken Lerona

“I can really say that this pandemic greatly affects the lives of every Ilonggo, especially those that don’t have regular work and those in the micro and startup businesses,” Rayjand Gellamucho shared with us in an online interview.

Gellamucho is Global Shapers Iloilo Hub curator, head of Produkto Lokal, and general manager of the Green Technology Business Incubator at the West Visayas State University.

Gapungha-pungha gid subong ang mga micro and startup businesses naton diri sa Iloilo. Ano bala kasubo pamatian nga ihambal sa imo sang isa ka owner nga manirado na lang siya sang iya negosyo kay indi na niya kaya i-sustain ang iya startup business,” Gellamucho added.

“This is the reason why we collaborated with the Iloilo Local Economic Development Foundation (ILED Foundation) to conduct the Iloilo Business Response to COVID-19 Survey. Primarily, we want to ensure that the voice of our micro and startup entrepreneurs, mostly owned by young Ilonggos, will be heard,” he said.


Deep diving through data

In the past few weeks, we have been calling Iloilo business stakeholders to sit down and start the conversation to help our business owners, entrepreneurs, and the whole Ilonggo commercial community. We are happy to report that the conversation is well taking shape with different sectors working together to build a solid roadmap to counter the impact of COVID-19-driven recession. This roadmap will rest on a solid foundation, backed by data and insights gathered from different stakeholders from the city and province of Iloilo.

Over the weekend, the ILED Foundation has organized a multi-sectoral survey to take the pulse of the local enterprises and map out plans for economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaborating with the Iloilo City and Iloilo Provincial Economic and Promotion Offices, various business organizations and chambers, as well as the Global Shapers Iloilo Hub, the working group aims to deliver a research report which will be the submitted to the city mayor and the provincial governor.

The multi-sectoral study aims to provide data-driven insights for the policies to be put together by the local government to assist the business sector.

According to ILED Foundation’s Executive Director Francis Gentoral, “the survey seeks to find out the actual impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the local businesses.” He added that “the study aims to dig deep into the stakeholders’ opinion on the expected state of their businesses post-crisis and their confidence on the overall economy of Iloilo.”

The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation is a public-private partnership among the business community and the city and the provincial governments. The foundation also works with various local professional groups and the civil society to strengthen their programs.

“Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas wants to get the business sector’s opinion on their readiness for the planned ‘back-to-business’ opening by the first of May,” Gentoral shared in an online interview. “On the part of the province, the Local Economic Development Investment Promotion (LEDIP) center is collaborating with us for this survey,” he added.

“The report to be delivered after this study will be shared with the Iloilo community and the business and the government sectors for their planning sessions. This will also be used as guide for the webinars to be organized. The result will be shared through publication and other forms of communication,” ILED Foundation Executive Director Francis Gentoral said.


Taking the pulse

Noreen Marian Bautista, another friend from the Global Shapers Iloilo Hub, a very passionate social entrepreneur, and the person behind Panublix, shared with us the structure of the survey and how it will be done.

“The purposive proportion of Iloilo businesses will be sampled using the Business Permit and Licensing System (BPLS) data of the city and province of Iloilo. The survey will run for one week plus another week for processing and report preparation,” she shared with us in an online interview.

According to her, the survey will include questions on the perceived impact of COVID-19, expectations on Iloilo economy and the business operations, assistance programs for recovery, and the respondent’s business profile.

They hope to gather as much insights from different business owners and stakeholders in the city and province of Iloilo during the study period.

To answer the survey, business owners may go to or visit the ILED Foundation’s Facebook page at


Keeping the Ilonggo Spirit

According to Global Shapers Iloilo Hub curator Rayjand Gellamucho, when the survey is completed, the group will analyze the data and cross tabulate by industry type, location, and business ownership. The report will be presented by the Iloilo Local Economic Development Foundation to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Iloilo Governor Toto Defensor as their reference in making recovery plans and policies and programs for the local businesses.

“With the new normal, we can do initiatives to help our traditional businesses here in Iloilo to innovate so they become more resilient by taking advantage of the digital platforms and other technologies. We need to continuously practice the Ilonggo spirit of helping each other,” young leader Gellamucho stressed.

“We the youth, the business sector, the local government, and the whole community need to work together for us to survive and thrive after the COVID-19 pandemic,” he clearly expressed.


(Ken Lerona is an experienced marketing, brand, and communication professional in the Philippines with special interest in brand management, public relations, media, customer relations, and entrepreneurship. He has close to 20 years of broad experience in strategic and tactical aspects of Marketing both in traditional and emerging digital platforms. He believes in humanizing marketing by telling human stories beyond data.)