Ayala Corp. chairman and chief executive Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said over the weekend both the government and the private sectors have vital roles to play in the country’s economic recovery.“The private sector has a role and the public sector has a role, so all of us have to use whatever balance sheets we have, matched up, of course, with the changing nature of demand, which will increase again, to start re-allocating resources and building new jobs and getting that cycle moving again,” Zobel de Ayala said during the fifth online session of the Pilipinas Conference on “The Key Role of the Business Sector in Economic Recovery” organized by Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute recently.“Remittances have also slowed down, but also consumption locally has slowed down, probably because people have not been able to move around for health-related reasons. So, we have to reinvent, like we’re doing as corporations. We have to reinvent our place and what will make the economy tick,” he said.“It’s not only FDI but we hope that we can create that kind of structure that will be internationally accepted as an attractive framework for people to come in and invest in our country,” he said.“Both are very important. I think, to jumpstart this economy we all have to move to an investment-led push,” he said.Zobel de Ayala said the private sector has a very important role, such as creating jobs and re-skilling the workforce, to adapt to the new economic environment. “The world is changing, economies are changing, but all of us can change with it,” he said.“You have a much more digitized environment, but as we continue laying out the infrastructure needed, it keeps shifting and changing… All of us (institutions) should use the crisis to reinvent ourselves, and in a sense that’s fun,” he said.Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Benedicto Yujuico said in the same forum the “government cannot do everything alone.”
“It needs active support of all stakeholders of society to be able to effectively nurse our economy back to health,” he said.Makati Business Club chairman Edgar Chua said the government should provide the enabling environment and the needed regulation to ensure laws and contracts are obeyed.Rizalina Mantaring, former president and current chair of the committee on national issues of the Management Association of the Philippines, said the country needed to balance economic and social sustainability.“This consciousness has actually been growing for years but the pandemic just highlighted it, that you can’t just be taking care of yourself because if the community around you suffer, you may not be sustainable,” she said.Stratbase ADRI president Dindo Manhit acknowledged the country’s top business groups for swiftly and aggressively responding to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable members of society amid the pandemic.“Not only did they help in keeping the economy afloat, but they also made significant contributions in investing in necessary safety measures and COVID-19 testing. Some companies even committed to continue paying their employees despite revenue losses during the lockdown,” Manhit said.