Challenges and opportunities emerge for new normal


BAGUIO CITY – Opportunities emerged for business minded, creative and innovative individuals during the quarantine periods towards the ‘new normal.’ This was revealed by Acting City Planning and Development Coordinator Antonette Anaban during the Management Committee (MANCOM) meeting last Tuesday which focused on the city’s Covid 19 Recovery and Resiliency Plan (RRP).

The RRP was also discussed with several city and non-government organizations later that day. Among said opportunities are delivery and errand services for basic, food and other necessities for home-bound individuals during the enhanced community, general community and modified general community quarantine periods.

Some local designers shifted their lines of business from corporate, formal and casual apparel production to fashionable personal protective equipment (PPEs), some from indigenous materials.

Anaban however said there is a need to ascertain the standard material, for the protection of hospital and health workers donning said PPEs.

Online transactions for general merchandise also grew during the quarantine period. Another first, is a business application for a mental health diagnostic laboratory, Anaban said.

Mental health for the general public is a concern during the quarantine periods which lasted for three months now. She further stated that on call disinfection and sanitation services were offered for households, business establishments and cars with hygiene as a primary concern to combat the deadly corona virus.

Increased awareness on public health safety was noticeable, thus the wearing of masks, face shields, gloves, Anaban added.

For the local transport sector, low carbon emission and non-motorized modes of transportation were recognized, with the opportunity for the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow only roadworthy vehicles to ply the routes. With the limited numbers of Public utility vehicles to operate, a gradual imposition of the local transportation plan is being addressed.

Queries on bicycle use on Sundays and electric scooters for law enforcers however were raised. Having bicycle lanes and parking areas shall be studied by the City Engineers and other offices, it was known.

It was noted the parks have undergone rejuvenation during the quarantine period, thus, repairs and maintenance are undertaken by City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO). Another opportunity mentioned is the survey, profiling, and organization of at least 485 ambulant vendors from Burnham Park, into a cooperative to be mainstreamed into the formal economy.

Anaban however mentioned challenges facing the communities as: having inadequate working capital and difficulty of businesses to cope, restrictions and uncertain lifting of the community quarantine, increased unemployment as to returning residents and OFWs, high dependency on basic products manufactured outside and shortage of goods, limited access and high cost of internet, the education sector not prepared for online/blended learning, increasing number of Covid-19 cases and accumulation of new form of wastes.

Other social concerns were also mentioned. City Administrator Bonifacio de la Pena stated that meetings shall be scheduled to tackle specific RRP concerns.

Julie G. Fianza/ABN