Lifeline needed: Small businesses struggle amid lockdowns

This five-episode podcast was produced by UrbanisMO.PH and Young Public Servants with support from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Philippines, International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) and PCIJ.

BY AARON MALLARI / Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

What’s the big picture? Small businesses continue to reel from the effects of community quarantine measures on the domestic economy, which is mired in recession. While some businesses have adapted, for instance, through the wider use of online delivery services, a granular response is needed to address specific needs of sectors as low-income families and LGBT enterprises. 

Why it matters: Micro, small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of the economy and employ more than 90 percent of all workers. Giving them a lifeline means making sure millions of workers continue to earn a living amid lockdowns and quarantines.

What are the facts? Charlene Tan and Mabi David of Good Food Community talk about the effects of the pandemic on farmers and local food systems, and local government responses to address these challenges, while Meann Ignacio speaks from her experiences in a cooperative that helps urban communities continue to earn a living. Ronn Astillas of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce discuss how LGBT companies are coping with the new normal of doing business. 

The bottomline: More than the usual ‘ayuda’ or cash and relief assistance, local governments need to be more proactive in helping micro, small and medium enterprises survive the pandemic.