The business community in Bacolod City is calling on the local government to put “more effort” into its recovery action plan to stimulate economic activities.
Frank Carbon, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer, said they sought a meeting with the city officials “to ask for an update on where we are in the economic recovery effort and what has been done.”
But during the meeting on Wednesday, October 21, it was lawyer John Orola, the city’s special consultant on trade and investment, along with lawyer Jesus Hinlo Jr., Land Bank of the Philippines director, who talked with the business community.
The city government was supposed to update the business community on its economic recovery plan, but the latter ended up presenting their recommendations to jumpstart economic activities in the locality, Carbon said.
He said that 90 percent of the business establishments in Negros Occidental belong to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and 70 percent of them have already closed or downsized their workforce.
“It has been eight months, and people have lost their jobs. They have no money, and the purchasing power of the Bacolod residents has drastically dropped,” he said.
He said that the city government should have a financial stimulus package to open up economic activities while waiting for help from the national government.
He pointed out that the city government “has to spend money so there will be cash infusion to the community.”
The city should start infrastructure projects and a “cash for work” program to generate employment in the community, as well as offer micro-grants or micro-loans to small businesses, Carbon said.
The city government should also avail of the loans offered by government banks, he said.
For tourism, the city government should also lift the executive order (EO) on non-leisure travel, that would boost inter-island trading, he said.
Orola assured that he will talk to the mayor about the EO on the non-leisure travel, and that the city government has implemented programs to open up the economy, Carbon said.
But the city government has to “do more” to improve the purchasing power of its residents, he said.
“They have to put in more effort because we cannot feel it, if they are doing something,” Carbon said.*