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Business leaders, former health chiefs support NCR GCQ


Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation along with Former Health Secretaries Dr. Esperanza Cabral, and Rep. Janette Garin, Rep. Sharon Garin back President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to place the entire Metro Manila to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.

Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

“Ready or not, I think we should reopen the economy because this time we have to save the livelihoods of many of our MSMEs that are on the brink of great danger this point in time. It’s our obligation, as the private sector to conduct testing, to ensure that if found positive, we will trace, isolate, and treat,” said Concepcion at yesterday’s Go Negosyo’s Balik-Kabuhayan webinar series.

He also added that while we ease to GCQ there is still a risk of infection that is why he is urging everyone to be more vigilant. “A stronger public-private partnership in beating the virus is definitely great news for all our Filipino people. I believe we will prevent reinfection and a second wave. As we reopen the economy, we must remember to do it safely and cautiously. We must use all the tools available to us at the moment to protect the lives and livelihood of our people and to effectively fight COVID-19. Let us not be complacent. The war is still on until we find a cure.”

For his part, Zobel also backed the reopening of the economy: “It is a balancing act between the need for the economy to come back to life. It is a period of zero income and there’s only so much that can last without massive economic support from the government. The government has its own limitations to its balance sheet and the likes. There is no choice in my mind but to start easing back in following the proper protocols and reentering the economy, in a safe prudent and very cautious way.”

Urging the public and private sector to unite as one amidst the pandemic, Zobel said: “This is the time of national unity, the private sector has to work hand-in-hand with the public sector. There are moments of crisis where you cant sit back and say “it is not our responsibilities, it’s yours” we don’t have a role to play. I think that is something the PA Joey has always believed, this duality.”

The speakers on the webinar also provided possible recommendations on the medical point of view on how we can further improve our collective response to combat the virus as we reopen and revive the economy.

“If we don’t reopen, we might be able to prevent a few cases of COVID, but then we will have more of non-COVID illnesses. So this is a balance between the two and this is actually a good part where business sectors come together because aside from putting up additional testing centers, coming up with the recovery livelihood, will actually pave way for people to start taking up their maintenance medication again, for people to have something to spend when it comes to healthcare. Because the government cannot fully subsidize COVID and non-COVID illnesses. Reopening the economy actually means taking care of public health,” said Jannette Garin, who also serves as the ARK-PCR Private Sector Chief Implementor.

When asked about the ability of the country’s economy to reopen again, Dr. Cabral shared: “Well, I’d say that we are as ready as we can be to open business again. We have had 2 months to prepare, I mean the healthcare system. And if we have not prepared over the last months, we will never be prepared. Yes, I think that we are ready to open.”

From the public sector standpoint, Rep. Sharon Garin noted that the economic movement should resume, “What we have to instill to the people is not about amelioration, its what investment. They have to work with the money that they get. With continuing on until we have the virus eradicate. What we have to do right now is balancing. I think it’s a good balance having what the organization is trying to do. As long as both have the minimum standards to comply with whatever health requirement that these doctors that we have here. I think there should be a good balance.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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