Business groups back DOH amid COVID-19 outbreak
Response team for COVID-19 patients are in place at Quezon City General Hospital as number of patients in Quezon City rises.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Business groups back DOH amid COVID-19 outbreak
Prinz Magtulis (Philstar.com) - March 12, 2020 - 3:19pm

MANILA, Philippines-- Amid public anxiety over rising cases of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), business groups have voiced out support to the government and healthcare workers battling the disease on the frontlines.

In a statement dated Wednesday, 26 groups expressed "full support" to the Department of Health (DOH) leading a "sustained stringent implementation of enhanced surveillance, prevention and containment protocols" to put COVID-19 under control.

As of Thursday, 8 a.m., the Philippines has recorded two deaths and confirmed 49 COVID-19 cases, a massive 1,500% increase from just three last week.

The sudden uptick came as the public began to doubt DOH's testing capacity following a month-long lull in new cases of COVID-19, all which other countries such as South Korea and Italy post new infections everyday.

"We strongly urge our members and the public to fully cooperate with the government and our health workers in ensuring early detection and prompt response," the joint statement read.

"Valuable lessons" from previous outbreaks, they said, put the government in a stronger footing to face COVID-19, which on Wednesday was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Responses to the severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, the Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus in 2015 and AH1N1, itself another pandemic, "will be applied and supported by mobilization of the entire government machinery," business groups said.

For their part, the 26 groups vowed to ensure the "health and welfare" of their employees, clients and other stakeholders as they try to navigate their business through the tough times.

On Tuesday, economic officials, some of whom are already in self-quarantine amid risks of infection, acknowledged that economic growth could further slow from an eight-year low of 5.9% last year.

"We believe that whole-of government mobilization complemented by a whole-of society approach are critical factors in mitigating the impact of the current state of public health emergency on the country's hard-earned gains in achieving sustained and inclusive growth," the groups said.

The 26 groups which signed the statement were the Anvil Business Club, Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines, Connected Women, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Guild of Real Estate Entrepreneurs and Professionals Inc., and Institute of Corporate Directors.

Also included were the Institute of Solidarity Asia, IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines Inc., Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc. and Philippine Ecozones Association.

The statement was likewise signed by Rotary Club of Makati, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc., Shareholders' Association of the Philippines, Subdivision and Housing Developers Association with UP School of Economics Alumni Association.

Business chambers of Australia and New Zealand, Filipino-Chinese businessmen, Canada, Japan, South Korea, European Union and the US were also signatories.

"We trust that their response capability and protection from inherent health hazards has been augmented substantially, thereby enabling them to carry on with renewed vigor and enthusiasm," the statement read.

AMERICAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE MAKATI BUSINESS CLUB AND MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES SEIPI
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