By Jenina P. Ibañez, Senior Reporter 

THE FEDERATION of Philippine Industries, Inc. (FPI) is calling on the government to gather public health leaders and listen to their expertise experience on the country’s coronavirus response as the capital prepares for renewed lockdown measures. 

FPI President Jesus L. Arranza said the Health department and the inter-agency task force on the coronavirus should organize an event with the leaders of medical institutions to share best practices that led to the country’s high rate of recovery.   

“Our doctors and other health experts have never really come together to formally discuss how we achieved such a number of recoveries. What we are only hearing are anecdotal accounts of how people were healed, rather than factual and science-based,” he said in a statement on Saturday.  

FPI said that a report mapping hospitals’ coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) responses according to each comorbidity would help ease public anxieties. 

“This will also give everyone the needed information to prevent them from relying on mere rumors or recommendations of people identifying themselves as experts on social media on how best to treat COVID,” the business group said. 

Metro Manila will again be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest lockdown level, for two weeks starting Aug. 6 as more cases of the more transmissible Delta variant are recorded.  

FPI said that it would respect the government’s decision “as long as it is based on science and sound analysis of relevant statistics.”   

While the business group is concerned about the effect of another lockdown on the economy, Mr. Arranza said that the government could help curb a surge in coronavirus infections.  

He added that the government needs to ramp up inoculation to protect Filipinos and support unhampered economic recovery. 

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), which had spoken against more lockdowns, said that businesses will comply as the Health department finds it necessary due to the Delta variant cases. 

“With the Delta variant, we have no alternative but go back to ECQ,” PCCI Chairperson Alegria Sibal-Limjoco said in a mobile message on Saturday, adding that restrictions could cost jobs as businesses shut. 

“We just hope September will be the start of full recovery,” she said.  

Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc., said in a text message on Sunday that the lockdown will cause setbacks for the retail, manufacturing, and services industries. 

“This is a bitter pill for us to swallow.  Hopefully (with) the ECQ, we can starve the virus and prevent it from spreading. We will just have to make it up in the last quarter,” he said.