BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Should the trend continue beyond July – lockdowns, community quarantines, and suspension of events and activities – we might see the economy crippled.
This was the prognosis of Bacolod Cong. Greg Gasataya quoting members of the business community who expressed concern over the suspension of activities, including the bans on travel, and activities that amount to “mass gatherings”.
Gasataya was guest along with Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan, and City Health Office spokesperson Dr. Grace Tan DNX News Virtual Town Hall, Rise Above Fear, Unite in Crisis: A Discussion on COVID-19.
Gasataya said the first to be affected because of the prevailing fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. This, the congressman said, is a crisis of global scale, but the first to be affected would be those who the smaller workers in various sectors.
The first to be affected are those employed in ports – seaports, and airports – as well drivers in public utility vehicles because they would no longer have passengers.
“Everything starts from there: from retailing, to manufacturing, to tourism to transportation. If this continues beyond July, we see a huge blow to the economy,” he says.
Gasataya and the others are talking of the possible worst-case scenario in a pandemic, and what usually happens and what to prepare for.
Meanwhile, Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran said that in a worst-case scenario “businesses will close”, as they could no longer afford to maintain the upkeep and overhead expenses, including salaries and wages.
“In a worst-case scenario, there would be a lockdown. A lockdown means that nobody would be allowed to leave their homes. Everybody is asking for a lockdown without really understanding what it means,” he said.
Gasataya agreed that it would be “tiempo muerto” but on a global scale.
“Which is why government presence really is important here otherwise there will be lawlessness and rebellion will set in,” he said.
All four guests appealed for cooperation and sobriety, as well as personal accountability to help contain the spread of the virus.
“As soon as you are a PUI, or you have exhibited symptoms with a travel history, do not resist. Subject yourself to quarantine,” Tan said.
Bayatan also appealed to the public to take personal accountability over their health as preventive measure.