Aboitiz pushes for closer private-public sector collab
CEO says this is a way to help ease COVID-19's impact on Philippine economy
CEBU CITY—Greater and closer collaboration between the government and the private sector can help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Philippine economy and ease the people’s anxiety.
While the COVID-19 crisis had created a lot of uncertainty, the Philippine economy could be shielded from further disruptions, said Sabin Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group president and chief executive officer, in an emailed news release.
Aboitiz said that this could be done if the government and private sector would focus on two areas of collaboration: Keeping the economy moving, and supporting the government’s COVID-19 information campaign.
“There is no question of the coronavirus’ impact on the economy,” Aboitiz said.
“It is during these times when the government and private sector must work closer together – really together to effectively mitigate the crisis,” he added.
Read more: Impact of COVID-19 on Philippine tourism, economy
During a briefing for financial analysts held March 11, he maintained that the implementation of both government- and private sector-led infrastructure projects could counter the economic impact posed by the COVID-19 crisis.
Aboitiz on Build, Build, Build
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III’s declaration that the current administration’s Build, Build, Build program would go full blast “is the right thing to do,” Aboitiz said.
“One sure way to keep the economy stimulated is the immediate implementation of the government’s infrastructure program, especially the projects of national significance,” he said.
“It generates jobs, it triggers economic activity, and there is definitely no question about the long-term benefits,” Aboitiz added.
Read more: ‘Build, Build, Build’ to get record-high $3B in loans from ADB
Aboitiz pointed out that their company had always been ready to invest time and money to build the infrastructure that Filipinos deserved.
Adopt policies to benefit firms
He also encouraged the government adopt policies that give preference to goods and services provided by Philippine manufacturers and companies as a way to further bolster the economy.
As an example, he cited Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade’s instruction to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Manila International Airport Authority to defer the collection of take-off, landing and parking fees of local airlines.
“We fully support the government’s actions (on) landing fees to help local airlines and extending financial support to the local tourism industry – two sectors badly hit by the coronavirus,” Aboitiz said.
Read more: Gov’t reading lifesavers for firms hurt by COVID-19, says DOF
He suggested other measures that government could undertake to boost local economy.
These included sourcing from local manufacturers all raw materials, like cement and steel, for its infrastructure projects; and hiring more locals for projects in the provinces.
He also suggested faster processing of permits for various projects for faster implementation; and protecting local manufacturers from the entry of cheap, poor quality imports.
On the other hand, the Aboitiz Group, as a member of the Philippine Disaster Relief Foundation, could also help the Department of Health’s COVID-19 monitoring and information campaign, Aboitiz added.
He said the Aboitiz Group had constantly reminded its team members about digital channels for business continuity, proper hygiene measures, travel and social distancing guidelines, and workplace sanitation, and are given regular updates about COVID-19./dbs
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