MANILA – It is possible to reopen more businesses amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic if health and safety protocols are properly followed.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Saturday putting things back to normal is possible under certain conditions.
“Puwede nating buksan ang ekonomiya. Tandaan niyo, I think ako ang pasaway na nagsabing puwede naman tayong bumalik sa normal basta gawin niyo na lang ‘yung protocols. Lahat, balik tayo sa dati (We can further reopen the economy. Remember, I am the one who says we can go back to normal, so long as you follow the protocols. We can go back to normal),” he said during his online commentary show “Counterpoint”.
Panelo was reacting to the appeal of Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), to keep the economy open and business operational.
Ortiz-Luis said the country “cannot be forever terrorized by the coronavirus.”
Panelo, however, said it is not the Covid-19 that is terrorizing the country.
“It’s not coronavirus terrorizing us. It’s us terrorizing ourselves. Tinatakot natin ang mga sarili natin. Pupuwede naman nating bigyan ng proteksyon ang mga sarili natin (We are scaring ourselves even though we can protect ourselves),” he said.
ECOP vice president and organizing chair of the National Conference of Employers, George Barcelon, earlier said business groups have pledged to generate at least one million jobs.
Barcelon said hiring will open in major sectors like electronics, outsourcing, construction, and tourism.
The Philippines recorded some 4.14 million jobless individuals in April this year, higher than the 3.44 million registered the previous month, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also expressed confidence during a previous media briefing that the government’s three-pronged strategy would help address the unemployment in the country — safe reopening of the economy, full implementation of the recovery package, and timely Covid-19 vaccination program. (PNA)