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At least 200 micro, small businesses close due to COVID, at least 1,000 workers hit, biz group seeks way forward

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – At least 1,000 micro and small businesses have closed shop here since the first quarantine level was raised over this metropolis of half a million people based on the conservative estimate of a newly-formed business group.

The Bacolod Employers Union, the first local group composed mainly of small and micro businesses, estimated that out of their close to 500 members, at least 40 percent have closed their businesses.

John Ledesma. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan
John Ledesma. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan

John Ledesma, BEU co-founder and chair, told DNX that based on this estimate, at least 1,000 workers have been affected assuming that each business has at least five workers.

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In turn, this means at least 5,000 residents have been affected if each jobless worker has four dependents, Ledesma said.

The businessman, who owns Quino’s, a pastry shop and cafe, said businesses who continue to operate have been hit hard by the low purchasing power of consumers.

Simply put: people have no money.

And while December also brings with it the tiempo suerte or the harvest season in the sugarcane industry, money is still hard to come by, Ledesma added.

He pointed out that while utilities and rent are still charging 100 percent, customer volume is down to only around 10 percent.

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Ledesma said he and BEU members hope the local government can provide actual assistance to them like loans since most businesses are now saddled with debts.

Watch the video to know more about the proposals of Ledesma for the LGU.

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manoy
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

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