Billions lost in business due to Zamboanga standoff
MANILA, Philippines - The siege in Zamboanga has been ongoing for more than a week now, and business there continue to be paralyzed.
Yet the Finance department says the conflict still has no impact on the overall economy.
"Pag naayos yan, lalong tataas pa ang potential ng ating economy. I look at Mindanao as an upside potential, I don't look at it as a downside risk," Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.
But business leaders are appealing to government to resolve the standoff as soon as possible.
They say billions of pesos in trade halted as a resulted of the chaos.
"Around P50 billion of money in circulation in Zamboanga stopped because of this incident," Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Ed Lacson said.
"Kung patatagalin yan, magkakaroon ng effect yan sa general economy," Miguel Varela, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.
Local businessmen also appeal to the government to come up with a better strategy to deal with the crisis.
"We just hope somebody really would be on top of the situation, not so many cooks," Pocholo Soliven, president of the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"We're watching closely how government addresses, manages and resolves this issue," Ricardo Juliano, vice president for Mindanao, PCCI.
Aside from being one of the centers of trade in Mindanao. Zamboanga City has major seaweed, rubber and sardine industries.
Eighty percent of the total sardine output nationwide comes from Zamboanga City.
It will also be one of the trading hubs, once ASEAN integration fully kicks off in 2015.