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Cebu News

Cebu's economy recovers at 95%

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
Cebu's economy recovers at 95%
“Based on the business sector’s report, the economic activity here both in the highly-urbanized cities and the Cebu Province went on continuously now en route to business recovery. Currently, based on the business group’s feedback, they are at 95 percent recovery despite the pandemic,” said retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano, chief implementer for the Visayas of the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
STAR/File

CEBU, Philippines — A little over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic, Cebu’s economy has reportedly recovered by up to 95 percent.

“Based on the business sector’s report, the economic activity here both in the highly-urbanized cities and the Cebu Province went on continuously now en route to business recovery. Currently, based on the business group’s feedback, they are at 95 percent recovery despite the pandemic,” said retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano, chief implementer for the Visayas of the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Feliciano said they received this feedback from the business sector in Cebu during the 6th NTF-COVID-19 inter-cluster meeting on Tuesday, May 18.

Because of this positive development, the IATF has reportedly tasked the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to study Cebu’s best practices, particularly those that strike a balance between health and economy, that can be replicated in other local government units.

“Of course, there is a basis for this. Before this thing happening in NCR, there was an attempt during the last week of February that the national wants to implement stricter quarantine level here, but we did not agree because there is an appropriate LGU and community response to it (cases),” Feliciano said.

“Tourism in the Cebu Province has also remained. Compared to the other areas where tourism is nagko-close-open, close-open, so mahirap mag-recover, pag mag-close ka, tapos open ka na naman. You start from zero again,” Feliciano added.

Economy

Felix Taguiam, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said the 95 percent recovery rate of the local economy can be attributed to the reopening of businesses but does not necessarily reflect consumer confidence.

“I would agree. This as businesses are almost open, well, for the sake of opening, but, when it comes to consumer confidence, it’s still not there hundred percent,” Taguiam told The Freeman.

“Consumer spending, it is growing, but wala pa ta kaabot,” he added.

Online businesses are also among the factors that helped boost the economy.

“The online thing is also getting bigger… ginagmay pero kanunay,” Tagiuam said.

He said the business sector is optimistic that the vaccine rollout will encourage consumer confidence some more.

“Compared to last month nga mahadlok pa ang mga tawo magpa-vaccine, now, pagkakita sa silingan nga na-vaccine-an na, nagkadaghan na pud ang gusto magpa-vaccine. Pero muhangyo lang gihapon ko nga katong wa pa nakapa-vaccine, magpa-vaccine na. We need warm bodies. Unsa may gamit sa gobyerno kung daghang vaccine unya di gamiton?” he said.

A Labor Force Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority – the result of which was released last May 4 – also showed that the January 2021 employment rate in Central Visayas is at 92.9 percent. Underemployment is at 13.2 percent while unemployment is at 7.1 percent.

No specific figures on Cebu was released.

Commendation

Feliciano, Usec. Jonji Gonzales of OPAV, along with Project Balik Buhay’s Edmun Liu and Kenneth Cobonpue and infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Bryan Lim, visited the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Wednesday and commended the team’s efforts in the pandemic response.

Lim said the impact of the EOC goes beyond pandemic response.

“Their efforts have enabled Cebu to recover in more ways than one without a second lockdown. On the health side, cases have gone down. Deaths have gone down. Our hospital occupancy is down to 12 percent. Before the pandemic, our employment rate was 95 percent. During the pandemic, employment went down to 80 percent. Now, it is back to 92 percent (as of Feb 2021). There are more businesses opening up, most adjusted to the new norm. These numbers translate to lives saved, not just from COVID, but also from hunger, and mental illness. I do hope and pray that our progress continues,” Lim said in a Facebook post.

The EOC chief, Councilor Joel Garganera, thanked PBB for its support.

“Their words of encouragement uplifted our spirits and put butterflies in our stomach. On behalf of the Cebu City EOC, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Project Balik Buhay for their help, assistance, and personal encouragement to the men and women behind the EOC,” Garganera said.

Earlier, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Epimaco Densing thanked Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for her strong leadership and for having Cebu at the forefront of giving a “certain vibrance” to the Philippine economy. — JMO (FREEMAN)

COVID-19

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