MANILA – Deputy Speaker Michael Romero wants to keep the Philippine stock market open to ensure liquidity in the country’s financial system amid the coronavirus threat.
In a statement on Wednesday, Romero said while the Philippine Stock Exchange had shortened its trading hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., public funds have to be traded publicly every day.
He warned that closing down the stock market is tantamount to making public funds private, which prevents market liquidity.
“The stock market should be open because of its character of being a public exchange. Closing down the stock market makes the stocks traded private. Making stocks private closes the market liquidity in the country. With stock market trading already being all virtual there are no people to people contact anymore,” he said.
“One way to keep the economy moving is to make sure the funds keep circulating. Our country’s financial system is intact. The system has to remain liquid, so it must stay open,” he added.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the offsite trading protocols that the PSE adopted while Luzon remains under a month-long enhanced community quarantine to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Romero said the government is crafting the details of its economic stimulus package that will primarily target the micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Our stock market and the national economy have been through many slumps before and even in those slumps there were profits to be made, companies grew, markets expanded, and new opportunities were discovered. There are two opportunities that come to mind,” he said.
He stressed the need for a working Farm Commodities Trading Board for the electronic trading of rice, corn, vegetables, fish, and livestock.
“This Farm Commodities Trading Board would be our country’s systemic solution to supply, demand, and price fluctuations during normal times and crisis periods. The PSE and Agriculture Department have been working on this for a number of years now. It is high time that the groundwork is laid soon after the front end of the Covid-19 crisis is over,” he added.
The lawmaker also suggested that the economic agencies, along with the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, to require staggered payment of the accumulated debt on top of the minimum 30-days postponement on the bill payments.
“Now is not the time to cripple or further disable our MSMEs. Staggered payments will give the small businesses time to get their financial house in order, help them recover, and keep their employees, thereby reducing unemployment,” he added.
To support micro and small businesses affected and cushion the economic impact of the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the country, the Small Business Corporation is setting up a PHP1-billion Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing facility under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (named COVID19 P3-ERF). (PNA)