Business organizations yesterday harshly criticized the administration’s recent flip flopping quarantine policy stressing it was becoming costly to the economy.

Business groups took turns slamming the government’s decision to delay on the last minute the decision to shift to granular lockdowns starting September 8 from the current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) classification.

Already, the garment and textile industry said they are losing at least $200 million worth of export orders.

Robert Young, chairman and president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP), told Manila Bulletin they have received orders mostly from US buyers of at least $200 million of garment products. Of this amount, $100 million are confirmed or booked orders.

Local garment manufacturers accepted the orders especially that the government has announced the shifting to granular lockdowns starting September 8 for the National Capital Region.

“We have prepared our facilities and notified workers and our materials are ready for production,” said Young.

However, with the government’s decision to postpone further the easing of quarantine status they are sure to lose the booked orders.

“This is such a waste because these are already confirmed orders and we could have reemployed more people. Now, we are back to zero,” he said.

According to Young, the orders came mostly from American buyers, who have decided to boycott “anything from Myanmar” in protest against the country’s military takeover. “The orders are quite urgent because we were only given 60 days,” he said adding that garment manufacturers, especially from Bataan, are very traditional and are following the rulings implemented in the National Capital Region.

The Philippine Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the voice of Philippine business, also called on the government to be prudent in its pronouncement on quarantine policies
as it would have a tremendous impact on business and people’s lives.


“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 G. Lacson.

He said that there is a huge financial cost on business enterprises when plans and preparations are dislocated by the last minute cancellation or postponement of the anticipated relaxation of the quarantine protocols.

“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.

The PCCI acting head also said that the cancelation of the implementation of granular lockdown diminishes the credibility of official policy announcements and could be extremely disastrous in future reversal of official policy pronouncements.

“It maybe 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,” Lacson said.

Earlier, PCCI said the implementation of a granular lockdown would have positive implications on business – removal of the intermittent and harmful regional lockdown protocol and discrimination between essential and non-essentials business as both now will be allowed to operate under certain relaxed health guidelines.

PCCI hopes for the full opening of the economy even if the herd immunity threshold is unmet due to the moving and elusive target of 50 -100 percent inoculation of the population

In a statement, the Makati Business Club (MBC) expressed exasperation over the continued hard lockdowns that prevented companies to operate fully while more people are out of work.

Makati CBD skyline

“Our people are frustrated and getting desperate. We need to get more and more people safely back to work,” MBC said.

The Makati-based businessmen pointed out that they have been supportive of the reopening of the economy with science-backed policies so more Filipinos scan work and take care of their families.

They welcomed strategies like the Bakuna Benefits and granular lockdowns provided they are adequately supported by contact racing, quarantine isolation, hospitalization, and testing system that will help avoid recurring surges and broad lockdowns.

“This will take a lot of work but the private sector is as always, prepared to help the local and national government to craft measures that can enable the safe reopening of our economy,” MBC said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (