The next few months
INVESTING ON THE GO - Iggy Go (The Freeman) - March 31, 2020 - 12:00am

The next few months will be critical for businesses, especially the SMEs. Because 99.6 percent of all businesses operating in the country are SMEs and collectively employ 66 percent of the workforce. If the SME sector collapses, the entire economy will probably go down with it.

Those with sufficient retained earnings and emergency savings will survive but the majority will not. Business continuity plans also require time, preparation and resources.

Persuading a country to voluntarily stay at home is not easy, and without clear guidelines. The same is true for the business sector, when the good of all hinges on the sacrifices of many, clear coordination from the powers-that-be matters.

Confusing instructions or the lack of it

There’s no clear authority from the government. It seems to be every department for itself. We are bombarded by multiple directives from LGUs and agencies (DTI, DOLE, DOH, ..etc.), which are sometimes in conflict to one another.

When the lockdown happened, businesses were at a loss as to which industry is exempted and which is Business-as-usual. Businesses need this information to plan and adjust as some businesses are multi-location, and their employees may not live in the city and usually commute.

Even with the government’s ‘stimulus’ package, it’s highly biased towards an industry, conditional cash transfer for displaced workers and no clear cut plans for others. Currently, businesses are not allowed to cut salaries while others are encouraged to ‘do their part’ in extending services without sales as if business owners have a money tree.

I’m not expecting a perfect response, for I know that won’t end the pandemic. As long as the virus persists somewhere, there’s a chance that one infected traveler will reignite fresh sparks in countries that have already extinguished their fires (China, Singapore, & the like countries).

Potential Future Scenarios

Herd Immunity - Basically, what happens is that we allow the virus to burn through the world and leaves behind enough immune survivors that it eventually struggles to find viable hosts. But this comes at a terrible cost of human lives.

Protracted Battle - Not just our country but the world continues the preventive measures being executed until a vaccine is produced. This also comes with a cost, perhaps an economic one which can also be devastating.

Mental health issues - A secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow. Racial discrimination towards Asians, professional discrimination towards health workers, people are being cut off from soothing human contact, increase in domestic violence in unsafe homes, deepening loneliness for the already vulnerable elderly, and more.

After the pandemic, people who recover from COVID-19 might be shunned and stigmatized, as were survivors of Ebola, SARS, and HIV.

These are just the immediate health related issues, add to that the economic devastation that can follow unless the government as well as US, the people get our acts together.

My Hope

I pray for a vaccine as soon as possible.

After every crisis—whether health or natural—attention is paid and investments are made. But after short periods of peacetime, memories fade and budgets dwindle or disappear.

I hope that COVID-19 might be a disaster that leads to more radical and lasting change. We deserve a better government in both local and national.

This pandemic has shown us that we need professionals to run this country, or any country, not those who are entitled, hypocrites, law abusers and attention whores.


Iggy Gois a Public Speaker & Content Creator>>

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