Millions of pesos in losses are estimated as the pandemic cancels the celebration of Chinese New Year on February 12, the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Sunday.
The group respects the capital city's prohibition of gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus and will instead hold virtual celebrations, said FCCCI president Henry Lim Bon Liong.
"We have our own celebration but virtual only. We’ll be greeting each other on social media,” Lim told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
The cancellation of the celebrations will affect businesses, Lim said.
“Usually, it's not only a lion dance. We also have a procession in Sta. Cruz, Binondo, Ongpin. Along the way we give out Ang Pao, candies. We'll no longer have those now.
"Those who sell lucky charms will also be affected. I cannot estimate how much we'll lose, but it might be millions.”
Lim said the FCCCI respects the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte as regards the quarantine measures being implemented in the country, even as he personally hopes to see more people outside.
"In fact, I advocated 'spend, spend and spend'. We need people to spend so businesses could earn. If sales are up, factories can hire back their workers.
"But then… people have no money. So how can they spend? That's why we want the government hopefully to stimulate the economy.”
The group is "fighting very hard" to get the Chinese New Year to be declared as an official non-working holiday, Lim said.
"It's not really just Chinese, but it's also Lunar New Year. It is observed not only in China but in Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand-almost every other country in Asia," he said.
"But every year, we’re happy the President designated us a special non-working holiday."
The Year of the Ox is expected to be "good," according to Lim.
"The ox is always lucky. When there's a bull run in the stock market, it means it's doing great.
"Hopefully, when our people are already vaccinated, things will go back to normal and business will be as usual."