Manila Bulletin

And boosting con dence

- For reactions: facebook.com/johntriapa­ge

Recovery must continue. Seeing and re ecting on the much higher GDP forecasts for 2021, there is de nitely a lot of hope for recovery. One good sign was the Purchasing Manufactur­ers Index rising to 50.1 last month from 47.3 in August. This means the job generating manufactur­ing sector (almost 8 million Filipinos out of the estimated 40+ million employed) brings hopes of much needed recovery and job protection. More jobs, more income — a multiplier for the economy. (https:// mb.com.ph/2020/10/01/manufactur­inghits-7-month-high-in-sept/)

Enabling successful recovery and resilience means that the economy continues safely reopening, all while observing appropriat­e health protocols. Recent IATF resolution­s facilitate this.

Also, building the con dence of consumers to patronize establishm­ents is needed. This boosts consumptio­n, which is a large part of our economy, and generates revenue.

Towards this, strong suggestion­s for businesses such as Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited hotels and restaurant­s, even retail establishm­ents, maybe business organizati­ons, is to prepare simple videos for posting on their social media pages explaining their health protocols as based on the guidelines of the Department of Trade and Industry and the DOT.

Another suggestion is to encourage prebooking of clients or customers either through phone or social media or apps. This will help follow capacity limits and remind customers of protocols and if necessary, facilitate contact tracing. QR codes and the already launched National ID can help.

These measures encourage customers to visit while reminding them to observe protocols when entering their establishm­ents. This promotes safety and client engagement, especially in tourism, which employs roughly 5 million Filipinos.

For businesses, as I wrote before, a big help are reduced taxes proposed in the CREATE bill, and other necessary economic reforms

Hopes in VCO

Recent research by the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Developmen­t

(DOST-PCHRD) shows promise for Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) as a means of controllin­g COVID-19 infections. In case the research proves successful, we can expect an increased demand for the oil by next year. (https://mb.com.ph/2020/10/07/vco-experiment­on-covid-turning-out-to-be-promising/). Already, VCO bottles are seeing increased demand upon interview with supermarke­t attendants.

The hopes for VCO are two fold — a possible therapy for viral infections and a great bene t for coconut farms and their farmers. Of the about 10 million Filipinos employed in agricultur­e, coconut farms employ the most at about 3.5 million, followed by the rice sector at about 2 million. Often, coconut lands are smallholde­r farms in sloping areas.

In a previous column, I wrote about how the coconut industry can be boosted with industrial­izing it, especially in Mindanao, which is the major coconut source of the country. This can employ millions more in the manufactur­e of coconut derivative­s such as water, cleaning materials, and others. (https:// mb.com.ph/2020/09/28/imperative­s-and-hopes/)

A key opportunit­y for farmers in this critical sector is to do intercropp­ing with perennial crops such as robusta coffee and cacao, to plug the gap of supply for our own needs and reduce imports. With additional investment­s in this sector, the future is made brighter. More on this.

Online agribiz developmen­ts

The Department of Agricultur­e has launched an online portal for agribusine­ss for buyers of products. This will de nitely create opportunit­ies for its supported farm organizati­ons and cooperativ­es, and prove a link for direct buyers. You can access it through www.agribiz.da.gov.ph.

Another will be the Online Davao Agritrade Expo, to be launched on October 30 Visit www.davaochamb­er.com/date to register for the launch.

References: https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/29/worldbank-forecasts-deeper-ph-gdp-cuts-in-2020/

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