Cebu’s business sector: Vaccine is key to economic revival

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | February 12,2021 - 10:30 PM

A glimpse of some of the skyscrapers at the Cebu Business Park in Cebu City. CDN Digital photo | Brian J. Ochoa

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The business sector in Cebu believes that the economic revival of the province and the tricities would greatly rely on a successful vaccination program against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Felix Taguiam said the vaccination is crucial for the full recovery of the economy.

This he said during the Mugstoria Ta, an online conversation hosted by Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard ‘Jonji’ Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.

“We all should get the vaccine, whether we like it or not. We need to protect ourselves,” Taguiam said in the forum.

Taguiam pointed out that even if businesses had started to open, sales are still down because the public is still afraid of going out, affecting retail and trade in Cebu.

The CCCI called on its member-companies to set aside a budget if they have funds for the vaccination of their employees.

Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas (DTI-7) Regional Director Nannette Arbon said she would be first in line if there’s a call for COVID vaccination, adding that there are misconceptions about the vaccines.

“It’s best to look at science. The fear (about the vaccines) is a product of a lack of information. We need to understand the science of it (vaccines). The fact is we need to get this vaccine. We need to get vaccinated so we can get on with our lives so we enjoy the better normal,” Arbon said.

Maria Sostheleen Padilla, OIC assistant regional head of the National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas (NEDA-7), also stressed the need for COVID vaccination.

“What we need to restore now is confidence in consumption. We need to move both sides, the supply and demand side, to pick up. And vaccination is what we need to improve confidence,” Padilla said during the panel discussion.

The director added that vaccination would be very critical to further enhance consumer confidence which is needed to pump up the economy.

The national government has committed to using P75 billion for COVID-19 vaccines for about 60 million Filipinos.

The Philippines is expecting the arrival of the initial 117,000 Pfizer vaccines from the COVAX Facility by the second or third week of February, according to the Department of Health.

Preparations have been ongoing to ensure the smooth and efficient vaccine distribution once the vaccines are delivered.

An estimated five to nine million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines are also expected to arrive in the country by the second quarter of this year from the COVAX Facility./PR

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