business groups in PH

Business group questions ‘half-studied’ pandemic policies under Duterte

Ralf Rivas

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PREPARATIONS. A restaurant preparing to reopen in Manila.

Inoue Jaena/Rappler

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry points out that 'half-studied policies or policy shifts' have 'tremendous impact on business operations and people's daily lives'

The Philippines’ largest business group called out the government’s move to retain the stricter lockdown in the capital region just days after announcing looser restrictions.

Just on Monday, September 6, the government announced that Metro Manila would shift to general community quarantine from modified enhanced community quarantine starting Wednesday, September 8. But Malacañang backtracked at the last minute, retaining the MECQ status until September 15.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said the last-minute change had “tremendous impact.”

“Authorities must be prudent in prematurely announcing half-studied policies or policy shifts as they have tremendous impact on business operations and people’s daily lives,” said PCCI acting president Edgardo Lacson. 

Lacson pointed out that the abrupt change cost businesses money, as others had already prepared for the reopening of establishments.

“Authorities must be careful in recklessly raising public expectations that will not be matched by the outcome. There is a risk that it might cause disappointment followed by frustrations and could trigger depression and despair,” he added. 

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Lacson also cautioned that sudden policy changes may impact people’s compliance with government rules.

“It may be apropos to remember the learnings from Aesop’s fable about the boy who falsely cried wolf too often that nobody in the village of sheep farmers believed until all their sheep were lost from the pack of wolves.”

The PCCI earlier said it favors granular lockdowns and allowing more businesses to reopen. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.