Aid to MSMEs vital enroute to recovery–Sen. Gatchalian


SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian is upbeat on prospects of  early recovery of the economy once the Covid virus-triggered strict lockdown—the fourth for the National Capital Region— is lifted in Metro Manila and the Calabarzon.

This, as the Duterte government  envisions quick recovery that will enable affected businesses, especially the badly-hit tourism sector, to bounce back. Meantime, the Department of Tourism has worked closely with the national and local governments to use the two-week enhanced community quarantine to ramp up vaccination of tourism sector workers, who are tagged economic frontliners.

The Gatchalian family’s businesses are wide-ranging, but a considerable chunk is in hotels.

“But our business was hit, since we’re in tourism. We all know no tourists are coming into our country. Many businesses in tourism are barely surviving, they’re really down. The pandemic didn’t  choose between small or big businesses, all were hit,” Gatchalian said in an interview with DWIZ at the weekend.

The vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs reminded that “our economy and commerce are linked,” noting that “both are heavily affected” by Covid-triggered quarantine restrictions.

Citing firsthand experience, he added: “The  tighter the quarantine, the harder for business. The more relaxed the quarantine, the better for business.”

The senator stressed this was why the policy makers should “restore the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ),” the more relaxed lockdown protocol, as soon as possible, if only to help the thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) impacted by the pandemic.

“That’s why, are turn to MECQ is being closely assessed because that affects business. We should also eventually learn, as they say, ‘to live with the virus.’ We should face the reality that the virus may always be here and we should always be careful. That’s the only way we can avoid  returning to ECQ.”

The senator projects the country would “bounce back,” but before then, “we should be ready” for when the lockdowns ease. Substantial assistance to MSMEs to recover is a first priority, Gatchalian told DWIZ.

“In time, our country will recover. It’s important for us to have all support necessary for businesses at the ready,” Gatchalian said.

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