PCCI pushes Zambo rebuilding plan

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Businessmen have agreed to a “mini Marshal” plan for Zamboanga to help the businesses  get back on their feet following the siege that practically put the city on a stand still for days.

 

This developed as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, approved full support for post-crisis recovery once the standoff in Zamboanga City, now on its 10th day, is resolved.

PCCI President Varela said the PCCI board agreed in a meeting Tuesday after directors were briefed on the standoff  and the interventions requested by  Ricardo Juliano, PCCI vice-president for Mindanao, and Pocholo Soliven, president of the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The PCCI has identified are three categories of post-recovery activities that it will support: (1)  to extend immediate need for relief and social services to the areas affected by the standoff in Zamboanga City, (2) help business operations get back on track, and (3) rebuild damaged infrastructures.

During the briefing,  Juliano and Soliven described the post-crisis recovery plan as a “mini-Marshall plan” to help Zamboanga city economy back on track.

Juliano and Soliven have emphasized the importance of Zamboanga’s economy.  They said that Zamboanga City accounts for 40 per cent of gross regional domestic product, is home to 16 canning factories supplying 80 per cent of the country’s sardines, and is a front door to other Asean countries when the Asean economic integration starts in 2015.

Bangko Sentral statistics also showed that circulation of some P50 billion of money in Zamboanga has slowed down during the first nine days of the standoff.

Varela acknowledged that the national government and the local government have been doing their best to resolve the crisis as early as possible.

The   PCCI has already mobilized its members to supply food and medicines, said Varela, and the issue of how to get the supplies to the city is now being discussed with the national government.

Representation will be made to the Department of Transportation and Communications to open airports and seaports and allow extra flights, new shipping routes and extend operating hours.

The temporary suspension of shipping services will be asked to be lifted to allow deliveries to and from Zamboanga City. (BCM)

The Bangko Sentral has authorized banks in the non-affected areas to resume banking and ATM operations as soon as possible. Likewise, some supermarkets have also re-opened but their stocks and working hours are limited.

Varela said that PCCI will make representations to the government to fast-track processing and release of calamity loans from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-Ibig, and development banks.

PCCI has also asked the Department of Trade and Industry to monitor prices of basic commodities.

The PCCI will also make representations to banks to extend grace periods for interests and monthly amortizations on business loans and commodities.

The national government, he said, will also be asked to suspend minimum wages for new entrants to the labor force in Zamboanga City for the next six months.

There is need to create jobs for new entrants to help many families earn additional income to tide them over, Varela said.

The Zamboanga CCI committed to hire extra workers to generate employment and pump prime the local economy. (BCM) (Manila Bulletin)