Most Respectfully Submitted by

The General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GSCCCII)

The  Novel  Coronavirus  (COVID-19)  Pandemic  is  currently  wreaking  havoc  worldwide.  This allowed the world to enter into a new norm, where everyone regardless of race and social status, is  affected.  This  pandemic  limits  the  movement  of  people,  goods,  and  services,  putting governments and businesses in crisis, and inexorably altering everyone’s way of life. As of this writing, the Philippines has a total of 2,311 confirmed cases, where a total of  96 deaths and 50 recoveries has also  been recorded.

In General Santos City, we are fortunate enough to not have any confirmed cases as of the moment, and we should continue to be hopeful that this crisis will be over soon.

Due  to  this  pandemic,  economic  activities  were  greatly  affected.  People  are  fighting  for  their survival  as  most  have  lost  their  livelihood  due  to  the  closure  of  the  businesses  and  various restrictions  brought  by  the  imposition  of  community  quarantine.  We  understand  that  this measure is temporary and necessary for everyone.

Despite the restrictions and effects of this pandemic, we in the business sector will continue to be of help to the people. We will not be sitting down just to wait for this to be over, rather, we want to maximize  our means to reach out  and help.  Besides, there are countless cases where private sector participation in addressing health crisis are proven to be extremely helpful. One case is the Ebola Outbreak in Africa, where the government and the private sector collaborated to stop the dangerous outbreak. After all, all we want is to survive and overcome this crisis together.

We want to commend the efforts of the local government of General Santos City in implementing certain policies that are vital these times. Aside from that, we in the business sector would also like  to  collaborate  to  bring  your  attention  to  other  important  concerns  and  be  of  help  to  the community. Through our bayanihan, we shall overcome this situation we are having right now.
We  in  the  business  sector  believe  that  the  following  recommendations  could  be  of  help  in properly addressing the COVID-19 issues in the city:


The primary purpose of implementing lockdown is to stop the spread of the virus so that no one will be infected or at least minimize the number of infected persons, and be able to survive.

However, we have to accept the reality that we cannot implement a total lockdown, else we all die  also.  The  flow  of  food,  basic  commodities,  essentials  and  other  people  involved  in  those services must continue -  we have food to eat and our economy continue to function. We have to avoid  chaos  and  anarchy  which  effects  are  far  worse  than  that  of  COVID-19.   We  need  to  be proactively balanced and execute our approaches with firm decisiveness.

On checkpoint passes, identify what are the businesses that continue to operate and serve for the issuance of passes and be allowed to pass checkpoints. These  people should also not be included in the list that will be rationed food by the government.

Also,  identify what are the businesses that need  to be shut down  due to the current situation and  how  many  people  that  lost  their  jobs    they  must  be  quarantined  at  their  homes.  These people should be among those rationed food by the government. Data is very important so that the government could plan its resources.

We in the business sector would like to suggest that there shall be a group or agency that will be in  charge  of  drafting  and  implementing  the  new  safety  standards/protocols  for  all  agencies, either from government or private sector that is still operational giving service to the public. The  design  of  safety  protocols  should  include  guidelines  on  entering  checkpoints,  food preparations,  deliveries,  hospital  and  health  workers,  beverage  and  water  refilling  stations, public markets, malls, and others.


In addition, we propose that there shall be a strict implementation in the checkpoints and specific penalties for violators should be in place. The local government shall  be in charge of orientation to other implementing  government  agencies like PNP, military, etc. monitoring and compliance mechanisms must be in place.

We would also like to suggest that the motorists and commuters, if possible, should not be asked to get out of their vehicles to reduce the risk of infecting others, or getting infected with the virus. Social distancing includes avoiding contact with potential virus carriers.

In addition, we recommend that the checkpoints shall be placed only on the city’s boundaries and borders. Congestion on the checkpoints within the city shall be avoided, take for example the checkpoint at Wilcon, National Highway. People passing through that checkpoint are mainly residents of the city or who have been cleared in the boundaries, majority of which are essential workers. As an alternative to the checkpoints within the city, we suggest that patrolling on the streets by the authorities would be a better option.


Efficient and reliable communication flow is vital in these times. The local government should be on  top  of  this.  Perhaps,  the  Mayor  can  designate  only  one-group-with-one-head  that  will  be tasked to manage content and (feedback and forward) flow of all information to avoid confusion and speculations among people. Information from different agencies  must be verifiable and be validated  by  people  on  the  ground,  to  their  heads,  to  the  information  group,  and  the  public. Barangay officials should not release to anyone else any information that is  not verified by the information  group.  Only  the  Mayor  and  the  information  group  must  be  authorized  to  give information to the media, online sites , and the public.

In  maximizing  online  media,  the  local  government  must  maintain  only  one  official  account  in every  leading  social  media  platform  such  as  Facebook,  YouTube,  Instagram,  and  Twitter.  The current practice of having too many accounts with different confusing contents is not helping in satisfy the information needs of residents and the media, which news,  by the way,  is only good as the information it gets. A constant flow of validated and verified information helps prevent
speculations and disinformation.

Through the information group, the city may, perhaps, consider help residents be aware that the public health crisis may last beyond April 14. Many are still  pinning their hopes on the April 14 timeline  and  this  may  just  result  in  disappointment  among  some  residents  and  add  to  their growing  anxiety.  It  would  be  good  if  the  city  also  steps  up  in  responding  to  the  needs  of  an increasingly sensitive and edgy public. This may be done through quick, effective and reliable information dissemination, and if possible, be more clear in issuing EOs after EOs, which may satisfy legalities of certain actions/remedies to be taken but not quite clear and  confusing in the minds of many, if not, most residents.

In addition, we request that the issuances of new executive  orders or implementation of new guidelines shall not be done on a Friday or the City Hall should be open on weekends if there are new issuances to entertain queries or process exemptions.


It would be necessary for the government to require footbaths in every possible place, set up decontamination  tunnels/tents  in  all  barangays  and  disinfectant  misting  systems  in  all checkpoints/entry points of the city.  It has to be checked first if these disinfection procedures are proven to be effective and not harmful to the citizens.

All  front  liners,  including  but  not  limited  to  hospital  workers,  policemen  and  soldiers  in checkpoints,  other  healthcare  workers  and  food  handlers,  shall  be  provided  with  personal protective gear. The government should prepare isolation areas for them in case any of them manifests symptoms due to exposure.

Also, the face masks shall be a must for all people, especially those going outside of homes or in their work  areas. Transmission of COVID-19 is through droplets from the respiratory system, mouth,  and nose.  The virus will stay on surfaces and will infect through  the  respiratory system also    mouth,  nose,  eyes,  but  the  source  is  the  droplets  coming  from  the  mouth  and nose.  By strictly implementing the use of face masks in public or even inside our homes, we are protecting ourselves, our loved ones and friends,  the  same as they are also protecting us, thereby, we can control the spread of this virus.

To  be  serious  about  this,  an  ordinance/order  must  be  hammered  to  penalize  violators.  The massive use of face masks is widely proven to have contributed to “flattening the curve” in other countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Czech Republic, and other countries.
There should be massive production of washable masks.  The government may encourage local tailoring or sewers to produce washable masks because this is cheaper than the disposal  ones. Face masks that will be produced locally should be purchased by the LGU to be given freely to front liners and residents. The number of washable face masks to be produced should be based on  our  population  and  has  to  go  with  directions  on  how  to  alternately  use  and  sanitize  the reusable ones. People will have no reason not to wear masks in public, by then, it will be easier to implement the law and penalize violators.

Also,  we  recommend  that  there  shall  be  a  massive  use  of  alcohol  in  all  open  establishments, alcohol bottle or dispensers  every 5 meters distance. Mobilize available laboratories in the city to  produce  alcohol  from  available  materials  and  according  to  regulations  required  ratio  and measurements.

There  shall  be  a  strict  implementation  of  massive  social  and  physical  distancing  in  all  public places, and violators should be penalized also. Massive sanitizing of all handles, doorknobs in all establishments for public every hour, depending on the volume of people. Educate people about the importance of sanitation, like the use of alcohol, disinfectants, and sanitizers at home, before and after touching doorknobs and handles.

All  deliveries,  using  motorcycles  or  four-wheel  vehicles,  should  practice  duly  accepted  safety protocols. It is recommended that there will be an  online platform, the same with Uber that will be rated by the customers. People that will be involved in this service should be regulated by the government. Violators should also be penalized.


With fewer  test kits, distant test laboratories, and no known cure against COVID -19, we have to consider that  the  hospital should be our last recourse. Our first line of defense is  at  the family level in every household, and the community through quarantine or the stay-at-home scheme. The government should designate isolation areas, rooms, buildings for people with symptoms of COVID-19  with  a  minimal  number  of  nurses  supervised  by  visiting  physicians.  Anyone  with symptoms should immediately be isolated into the said place, patients themselves will take care of their health, undergo medication in accordance with accepted protocols.

All hotels,  lodging houses, pension houses near hospitals should be used for health workers while they are in quarantine so that they need not go home and be able to protect their family members. All people serving in these entities should comply high level of standards in safety protocol. Isolation buildings and rooms for patients, and quarantine hotels or rooms for health workers should be paid by the government, including food and services.


We  support  this  proposal  provided  that  essential  workers  must  be  exempted  from  this. Establishments doing essential service and delivering essential products are currently short of manpower due to existing travel restrictions. If this will be implemented, it may further affect them  and  they  will  soon  find  it  impractical  to  operate  which  could  affect  the  source  for  our essential needs.

For  non-essential  travels,  it  may  be  necessary  to  drive  the  point  right  at  the  start.  Deploy barangay patrols to remind residents and refrain them from going out of their houses. The city may provide a safe mass transport scheme to control the flow of people and to ferry those who will be affected, particularly essential workers and those who will use their HQPs. We believe  the  e-jeepneys  are  better  alternatives  for  public  transportation  as  it  will  be  easier  to implement social distancing. A routing scheme for  e-jeepneys  may be put in place first if this is implemented.

Food  is  the  main  reason  why  many people  leave  the  confines  of  their  homes,  especially  daily earners. It may be necessary to distribute all the relief goods before implementing such schemes to avoid people from going out and going to work for them to buy food.


The biggest challenge in food security and how to survive in this war is the sustainability of our Supply  Chain  Management  System  (SCMS).  It  goes  from  people  involved  in  the  process  of financing,  sourcing,  farming,  harvesting,  milling  or  processing  (if  applicable),  transporting, displaying to the market, wholesaling, retailing, buying, and bringing it to the household before cooking for food consumption. The long process takes months or more than a year, depending on the kinds of products to be produced. With the situation that we have, there is a big disruption of the supply chain on the flow of raw materials, tools and essentials from other places or even globally,  (our  importations  and  exportation  are  affected)  aside  from  the  lockdowns  being implemented by other places.

With this disruption of the flow of goods today in the city, we need to re-imagine and redesign our supply chain management system by possibly maximizing our available resources. Part of this is the identification of what businesses will open as part of the long process of supply chain management systems like hardware, construction, farm, and agri-vet supplies, etc so that we can identify  who  will  be  working.  We  may  need somebody  expert  with  a  relevant  track  record  in supply chain management system to get on board of this process.

LGU-Gensan should start identifying our local sources of food, such as rice, fish, canned goods, vegetable, fruits, hogs and poultry, aquaculture products. Negotiate and work out on prices with the  local  sources.  If  this  will  happen,  there’s  a  possibility  that  food  manufacturing  and  other businesses for essential products and services could go back slowly to their operations, as long as  they  will  follow  strictly  the  new  standards  of  safety  protocols  in  their  workplace.  Slowly people could go back to work while maintaining safety protocols and a lesser number of people will be fed by the government.

The  government  should  allow  “neighborhood  economy”  to  flourish  by  designating  sari-sari stores and grocery shops as extension outlets of big supermarkets, thus, minimizing people from traveling the distance, risking social-distancing, stay-at-home and quarantine protocols. These shops, however, have  to adhere to proper safety protocols set by authorities before they can be accredited by LGU-Gensan. Barangays may also come up with a system for this. They can cluster the puroks into 30 or so families and put one person in charge. The smaller the unit, the effective and  efficient  the  system  can  be.  If  there  will  be  a  need  to  subsidize  the  sellers  of  foods  and essential items to sell in their puroks, we may ask private institutions to shell out or perhaps, adopt a cluster scheme.

The companies in  the  food chain may be able to provide transportation for essential workers, adhering  to  required  safety  protocols  and  if  these  companies  have  enough  vehicles  for  this purpose. If none, the city may consider renting public transportation. However, there will be a need to hear also from concerned companies.

Most importantly, the LGU should help the business sector to have a business  recovery plan. With this, we can sustain our survival, because we do not know when all these will be over. By having this, we are planning also the source of living with our people.
In  the  meantime,  these  are  the  recommendations  from  the  business  sector  to  the  local government  to  address  the  pandemic.  We  are  also  in  the  process  of  consolidating  other recommendations from other private sectors to ensure their cooperation and collaboration in these efforts.

Through this, we believe that we could be of help to the local government by providing inputs for your consideration. If there is anything the private sector could do to help the government in implementing its plans to combat the crisis, we are willing to do so. Through cooperation, collaboration, and unity, together we will be able to successfully defeat the effects of this pandemic.


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