Cebu biz leaders weigh in on Pres. Duterte’s last SONA
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Key figures in the business community here welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to recognize the private sector’s participation in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA).
But as President Duterte’s term comes to an end, they urged the government to address challenges being faced by various industries in the country.
For the leaders of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), the public sector should also focus their recovery efforts on energy and utility, and tourism and hospitality industries.
Felix Taguiam, CCCI president, said he welcomed the President’s commitment to continually help businesses around the country return to their ‘pre-pandemic vibrance’.
“What Pres. Duterte said in his last SONA (quote) that the government is committed to assist the private sector reclaim the commercial vibrance of the country prior to the pandemic (unquote) is most welcome and has been evident at the local level, where the Chamber has partnered with the national government for strategic interventions for the small, medium and even micro-businesses that drive our economy,” Taguiam said in a text message sent to CDN Digital.
According to Taguiam, however, the government must also pay attention to developing the power and utilities sector, saying that the increase in the cost of doing business for companies engaged in such industry remains ‘a challenge and struggle’.
“The government should put more focus on the development of these areas that make our country and our cities a much better place to live in… The utilities sector are essential services that play a vital role in economic and social development, yet, it remains an area our country has been struggling with in terms of cost and supply,” he added.
MCCI President Steven Yu, for his part, said he hoped local officials will be able to find solutions to stop the economic bleeding of the tourism and domestic service sectors.
“Inasmuch as we recognize the limitations of our financial capability as a country, what worries us is the recovery of the tourism and domestic service sectors in Cebu,” Yu said.
Yu added that tourism and hospitality players will still play an important role in spurring economic activities back to their pre-pandemic levels.
“Contrary to original expectations, this crisis (COVID-19) lasted longer than a year and recovery may still be in 2022. We hope that the government will put more focus into this segment to lessen the economic scarring,” he pointed out.
Nevertheless, Yu said they are grateful that the Chief Executive has credited the private sector in the fight against the pandemic.
“Without the open arms of the administration towards the private sector, the private sector cannot be effective partners of government, thus, much credit goes to the administration who embraces the private sector as equal partners in progress,” said Yu.
President Duterte on July 26 delivered his final SONA at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.
With over 1,000 members, CCCI is the largest business-oriented group in Cebu. It is followed by MCCI that has over 500 members.
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