PHL biz sector braces for third ECQ in NCR

THE business sector is gearing up for another bumpy ride with the upcoming implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) amid the growing cases of Covid-19 Delta variant.

This will be the third time that the country’s capital is put under the strictest form of community quarantine, which is seen to further hamper mobility, employment, consumer spending and demand.

While preparations may vary according to industry, the business leaders interviewed by the BusinessMirror pointed out that enforcing ECQ will affect operations. The government announced last week that Metro Manila will be subject to ECQ on August 6-20.

“Preparations will obviously vary per sector but some examples are ensuring the workforce are equipped to work from home, stocking up on supplies and ensuring supply chains continue to operate and are disrupted as little as possible,” Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) National Issues Committee Chairperson Rizalina Mantaring said.

George T. Barcelon, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) chairman, echoed the same concerns with the supply chain, especially for the part of the export-oriented manufacturers.

He said that exporters may encounter challenges when it comes to transporting supplies coming outside Metro Manila given the anticipated restrictions. The companies will also need to work around with new schedules of production, considering the ECQ and its impact on mobility of the employees as well, the Philexport official explained.

In addition, Barcelon said the firms may need to coordinate with their clients for the potential delays in shipments.

“They [exporters] have to tell their buyers of the delay. They might lose some orders,” he said.


On the part of company locators, Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director General Charito Plaza said they are preparing to scale down on-site workforce in accordance with the health protocols during ECQ.

Plaza said the ecozone locators are allowed to enforce work-from-home arrangement for up to 90 percent of their employees. Only a skeletal labor force of 50 percent in the production areas will work, and will be provided with housing and shuttle service.

“It’s costly providing housing and shuttle services which are also scarce and [there’s the] distance of housing facilities from ecozones,” she said. “It [ECQ] will affect quota of production and inconvenience to workers and locators.”

Employers, meanwhile, are likely gauging if there is a need to lay off some workers given the foreseen adverse impact of the hard lockdown, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said.

He said the following will be the most affected in terms of employment during ECQ: non-essential sectors, tourism, restaurant, hotels and no-work-no-pay workers, among others.

‘Definitive’ lockdown

While businesses are against the hard lockdown due to economic repercussions, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Acting President Edgardo Lacson said the sector will comply to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

Still, PCCI is hoping that the lockdown period is “definitive” and will be “lifted at the earliest possible time.

“The biggest challenge is to regain the stalled momentum, sustain the recovery trajectory, keep the workers, and meet fixed operating expenses,” Lacson explained.

German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GPCCI) President Stefan Schmitz said the imposition of ECQ will unfavorably impact the economy, including the foreign direct investment.

“While we understand that there is a significant rise in the Delta variant transmission, we believe that strict measures to contain any variant of Covid-19 are already in place,” he said.

The GPCCI official said the rollout of the vaccination program should be accelerated. “More so the business sector is thinking at what point restrictions for vaccinated people may be eased or even lifted,” he added.

Makati Business Club Executive Director Coco Alcuaz, for his part, said they will continue to work with the government in administering the vaccination in all sectors. In addition, the business group vows to take part in calibrating policies allowing the economy to reopen safely.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the government will continue to closely monitor the related developments on the Covid-19 Delta variant cases.

Meanwhile, he said that agriculture and manufacturing activities will still be allowed even during ECQ, assuring the public of enough supply of goods in the market.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

Marcial knocks out Armenian foe

Next Article

Prime Media seals MOA with Philippine Collective Media

Related Posts

Read more

PBBM pushes LBP-DBP merger

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is now pushing for the merger of Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) as part of government efforts to cut costs and boost the efficiency of its banking operations.