Iloilo maps out recovery plan to lift sectors hard-hit by coronavirus pandemic

With Iloilo province suffering an economic loss of over P10 billion when it was on lockdown, the provincial government is hammering out a recovery and rehabilitation plan to help sectors hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Arthur Defensor Jr said in a press statement on Friday, June 5, that agriculture, tourism, and public transportation are priority sectors under the plan being crafted by the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO).

“Our priority will be agriculture because there are a lot of unsold products as well as a loss in capital,” Defensor said.

“And then the tourism industry because of zero tourist arrivals and then the public sector because of restriction on transportation. But of course almost everybody is affected,” he added.

Defensor said that the other key areas under the recovery plan are public health and environment, trade and industry, and social services. Programs and projects under the plan will be designed to boost the economy, he said.

The provincial government said that during the Iloilo-wide lockdown from March 15 to April 30, Iloilo lost an estimated P10 billion as a majority of businesses halted operations. 

Business and trade industry lost around P4.8 billion as 65% of establishments had to stop operations, while the tourism sector lost an estimated P1.1 billion.

Agriculture sector losses – including unsold farm produce and fish sold at lower prices – amounted to P103 million. 

The Iloilo government said the transport sector lost P59.8 million for jeepney operations and P44.6 million for bus operations. It had yet to estimated losses for sea and air transport operations.

“Around P2 billion was cut in the income of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry,” it added.

It also said that “roughly P2.4 billion was lost” in terms of employment, covering 379,060 formal and informal workers from 38 local government units.

The lockdowns due to the pandemic halted the Department of Public Works and Highways VI projects affecting 5,280 workers in the province and leading to a loss of  P117 million, the provincial government said. –