Business, tourism stakeholders welcome GCQ, await orders from LGU
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Several business groups and tourism stakeholders in Cebu welcomed the decision of the national government for Cebu City and Mandaue City to slightly ease their quarantine restrictions beginning June 1.
And they are now urging local government officials to come up with the formal guidelines for them to effectively and efficiently transition from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ).
Felix Taguiam, president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), told Cebu Daily News Digital that their group was waiting for the city government to lay down the executive order (EO) needed in downgrading its quarantine status.
Taguiam requested not to provide further comments until they had been informed and furnished with the local government’s guidelines for GCQ.
However, the CCCI president shared the same sentiments among other business groups in Cebu that it was about time for the province’s economic sector to gradually open.
“In reality, everybody needs to open,” he said in a phone interview.
CCCI is the largest business-oriented organization in Cebu, with over 1,000 members.
Carlo Suarez, president of the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), also welcomed the decision of the government’s anti-coronavirus task force to place Cebu’s two largest cities under GCQ.
“Well, with the decision of IATF-MEID (Inter-Agency Task Force for Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), we can expect several business establishments to open, and we are very happy that (Cebu City) is under GCQ (general community quarantine),” said Suarez in a separate phone interview.
The tourism industry is among those that took the brunt of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis after lockdowns both in domestic and international destinations resulted to a drastic drop in leisure activities worldwide.
“We hope our local government units will be able to provide the executive order (EO) as we move on. Actually, we are now preparing for the new normal,” Suarez added.
IATF has also recommended for Mandaue City to be placed under GCQ, effectively repealing a previous declaration to classify it among areas with a more relaxed GCQ (modified GCQ/MGCQ).
For Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) President Steven Yu, placing the city under GCQ is ‘only appropriate’ instead of MGCQ.
“We believe that this is the appropriate balancing act applicable to the current situation as supported by calibrated and scientific data from DOH (Department of Health) and other concerned agencies,” said Yu in a text message sent to CDN Digital.
“We can relax it further only when there are scientific data to back it. With GCQ, around 90 percent of the businesses in Mandaue City is allowed to reopen,” he added.
The IATF on May 30 issued a resolution placing the entire Cebu island, including Cebu province, under GCQ starting this June 1. Its regional counterpart, the Regional IATF, are also tasked to ‘submit their detailed plans on zoning for the city and priority barangays’.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, however, announced in a meeting with all mayors on Saturday that she would be appealing to reclassify the province to a more relaxed MGCQ.
As of May 29, independent tallies from local governments in Cebu island showed that there are more than 2,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases here, with more than 800 recoveries and at least 50 deaths. /dbs
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