Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion


Businessman Joey Concepcion called on President Rodrigo Duterte to begin planning for the reopening of the economy, arguing that people needed to go back to work and earn money to buy food.

Speaking during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Concepcion, president of food and beverage player RFM Corp., said “social amelioration cannot last forever.”

“Mr. President I think a question was asked a couple of weeks ago: which is more important life or money? There is no doubt that life is the most important. But however, without money, how will people eat? How will people buy medicine? And how will our MSMEs recover? So how do we bring back the economy in a sustainable way and still make it safe?”

Concepcion, who is also the presidential adviser on entrepreneurship, told Duterte that he did the “right thing” in ordering a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, but warned that “if we don’t bring back the economy, then many of our Filipino brothers will suffer.”

“And I think now is the time that we should really look and plan on how to gradually shift towards reviving the economy because in the end, social amelioration cannot last forever. We have to bring back the jobs. For confidence to be brought back, I think they have to see that [the] numbers — the number of people getting infected [is] starting to taper off and go down.”

Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua proposed a wage subsidy to small businesses, using the databases of the Social Security System and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, to help the middle class.

Chua said 3.4 million workers were affected by the lockdown, which led to the closure of 436,000 businesses and reduced operations of a million other establishments. Only 117,000 establishments were allowed to operate.

“These are the middle class,  whether low middle class or medium middle class. ‘Yung 2.6 million na po ito ay nasa BIR Alphalist. Ibig sabihin, ‘yung employers po ay nagko-comply with the BIR submissions. So ‘yan po ang unang tutulungan natin,” he told Duterte.

“Pero ‘yung .8 million workers, tutulungan din natin pero ang problema po ‘yung employer nila hindi nagko-comply pero alam po natin. Tutulungan po natin pero second priority.”

Duterte promised to act on Concepcion’s proposal, but pleaded for patience, saying he would not hesitate to lift the quarantine when antibodies that could help cure Covid-19 arrived in the Philippines. (