BUSINESSES in Mindanao and North Luzon are optimistic about recovery due to continued operations in the agriculture, outsourcing, and mining industries in their areas, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said.
The Philippines’ largest business organization announced the findings of its meetings with chapter organizations. It also found that half of the member companies are not operating due to the lockdown, while employment among those partially operating is down 25-30%.
The chamber has said that extended lockdowns would force many companies to permanently close.
Mindanao businesses are welcoming new investment in health supplies ventures, including those making disinfecting materials like rubbing alcohol. Meanwhile, the North Luzon outsourcing industry continues to operate, PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico said in an online forum.
“Agriculture carries on despite logistics issues. There are potential investments for businesses (in Mindanao),” he said.
Mr. Yujuico added that the mining industry is growing, with ore exports continuing.
Meanwhile, businesses in the Visayas and South Luzon are suffering because 60% of their workers are in the tourism industry and related services, while industrial enterprises continue to be hampered by quarantines.
“The industrial and ecozones in South Luzon cannot fully operate because of the community measures still in place,” Mr. Yujuico said.
The PCCI said businesses are currently unable to make long-term plans because of uncertainty over when the pandemic will be contained.
Businesses have also been affected by spotty internet connection, cash flow and liquidity issues, transaction delays, lack of healthcare facilities, and problems with transportation and logistics.
“Financial support from the government is not enough or not being filtered down to the grassroots. Small enterprises are also wary of taking out loans, because it could lead to bigger loans, which could lead to bigger problems for them later on,” Mr. Yujuico said.
The Trade department’s interest-free small business loan program is overwhelmed with applications worth three times available funding.
The chamber said that it has been rolling out partnerships for loan guarantees, participating in a campaign promoting local consumption, and addressing red tape. — Jenina P. Ibañez