Newly-sworn in PCCI officials pay a courtesy visit to Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez yesterday. Photo shows PCCI President George T. Barcelon (left) and Secretary Lopez (right) together with other PCCI board of directors and DTI officials.

As the country enters a new year and amid the rising cases of Omicron variant infections, the government will not implement hard lockdowns, but it will instead restrict the movement of the unvaccinated individuals to ensure the safety of everyone, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said at the inaugural courtesy call of the new PCCI Board of Directors and Officers yesterday.

Present during the meeting from PCCI were George Barcelon, president; Arch. Felino Palafox, vice president; Engr. Eunina Mangio, vice president; Perry Ferrer, vice president; Sergio Ortiz-Luis, director and treasurer; Samie Lim, director; Alfredo M. Yao, director; Alegria Sibal Limjoco, former president and chairman; Dr. Alberto Fenix and Edgardo Lacson, past presidents; Sallie Lacson, area vice president for South Luzon; Tess Ngan Tian, area vice president for NCR and Ruben J. Pascual, secretary general.

Lopez was joined by his team composed of Usec. Fita Aldaba, Usec. Bles Lantayona, Usec Perry Rodolfo, Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty, and Usec, Ireneo Vizmonte.

Lopez assured the business community that the government is doing its best to ensure the safety of its people and country.

“With a high level of the vaccination program and medical treatment already put in place, we may have to change some protocols toward favoring the vaccinated instead of implementing lockdowns,” Lopez said, adding that the unvaccinated individuals will have limited mobility compared to the vaccinated.

Lopez said that this protocol may be implemented not only in Metro Manila but nationwide, through the local government units (LGUs) which will issue the implementing guidelines.

Moreover, Lopez said that the IATF is also considering the implementation of home-based antigen testing as an added protection for the asymptomatic. He said that test kits should be readily available and accessible in the drugstores.

Barcelon welcomed this pronouncement for the business sector. He said that the no lockdown policy will provide stability to business and sustain its recovery process.

“We are happy that the government is no longer imposing hard lockdowns as a safeguard measure against increasing Omicron cases. Otherwise, it would be difficult again for our economy to recover if businesses will be shut down,” Barcelon stressed.

Barcelon also reiterated the request of PCCI to be part of the IATF composition to ensure that issues of the business sector are properly relayed and considered.