Biz group free to join IATF meetings: Palace

Biz group free to join IATF meetings: Palace

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

MANILA – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) can join the future meetings of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Malacañang said on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after PCCI, the country’s largest business group, appealed to the government to include the private sector in the IATF-EID.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force welcomes any group, organization, or individual, outside the members of the IATF, to join the discussion of any of its meetings,” Roque said in a press statement.

The PCCI Board of Directors on Thursday passed a resolution, urging the government to engage the private sector in consultations before coming up with new policies amid the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

PCCI president ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, in a statement issued Thursday, said businesses are facing challenges, including the “impractical standards” in workplaces and inconsistent policies and regulations imposed by the local government on top of those implemented by IATF-EID.

Yujuico also noted that PCCI members have raised worry over the government’s apprehension to fully open the economy and the lack of coherent plans for enterprises allowed to operate amid the pandemic.

Roque said IATF-EID welcomes recommendations that would come from PCCI.

“Officials of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry can therefore serve as resource persons on matters related to trade, business and the economy in the same way that IATF has invited health experts from different medical associations to give their inputs related to their field of expertise,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte further eased the quarantine restrictions in the country in August to allow more businesses to reopen amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Roque ensured that the concerns of the business sector are being heard since the country’s economic managers are also members of the IATF-EID.

“At present, the President’s Economic Team, namely the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Finance, the Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority are members of the IATF and regularly join the task force meetings so the concerns of the business sector are forwarded and discussed,” he said. (PNA)

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