Business groups on Sunday agreed to observe the new norms and protocol imposed by the government as the country transitions to general community quarantine starting June 1.
The groups said in a joint statement they strongly support the “whole-of-government, whole-of-society” effort to respond and recover from the social and economic adversities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Together with the international community, we have demonstrated utmost cooperation, and enjoined our own officers and employees to abide by the quarantine rules of the IATF,” the groups said.
The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Institute for Solidarity in Asia Inc., Institute of Corporate Directors, Judicial Reform Initiative, Makati Business Club and Management Association of the Philippines issued the joint statement in observance of the lifting of the enhance community quarantine status in Metro Manila.
The groups, however, slammed the alleged violations of the COVID mitigation campaign where government officials reportedly defied the protocol.
“We are therefore greatly disappointed – even appalled and dismayed – about news reports of public officials violating with impunity the IATF [Inter Agency Task Force] and Health Department protocols intended to protect public health,” the groups said.
“As the country rides this tide of uncertainty, we trust that our leaders at the national and local levels, will demonstrate beyond doubt, the highest standards in observing and enforcing the rule of law, and serve as role models in discipline and moral ascendancy,” they said.
“Upholding the law and ensuring faith in our justice system stand as the bedrock of our democracy, and will enable the economy to survive and recover from these most trying times. The sacrifice of our people deserves nothing less,” the groups said.
The groups noted that from March 17 to April 17, almost 30,000 violators were arrested; 6,616 underwent inquest while 23,016 cases were for filing. The number was reported to have reached nearly 41,000 by May 1.
Many of those arrested suffered detention, costs, humiliation and inconveniences and some endured unwarranted jail time when unopened courts or government offices, or even limited bank branches, could not process their bail in a timely manner.
These happened even with the Supreme Court’s recently issued administrative circulars that reduce bail and allow recognizance as among the means of releasing the accused, risking exposure to the virus in overcrowded detention facilities.