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Economic forecasters have lowered their growth forecast for 2021 to 4% to 5%

Given the impact of the most stringent quarantine enforced to address threats from the highly infectious coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Delta form, economic managers have lowered their growth forecast for 2021 to 4% to 5%.

The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) stated that the earlier growth forecast of 6% to 7% for this year “would have been achievable” if not for the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in various areas across the country, including Metro Manila, which accounts for roughly 70% of the economy’s annual output.

“Our goal is to continue to carefully manage the risks by implementing granular quarantines while allowing a large number of people to work. In a statement released on Wednesday, it added, “We will continue to utilize this time to expedite the roll-out of the immunization campaign.”

The government’s “careful balance of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 risks” in the first half of the year, according to the statement, resulted in a positive output print of 11.8 percent in the second quarter, up from -3.9 percent the previous quarter.

The second-quarter growth rate brought an end to the pandemic’s five-quarter decline of gross domestic product (GDP).

Economic managers had said that the two-week ECQ in Metro Manila, which runs through Aug. 20, will be used to expedite the immunization campaign.

As of Aug. 15, 27.8 million doses have been given, with the majority (15.2 million) being first doses and the rest (12.6 million) being second doses.

According to the statement, the greatest single-day vaccination was recorded on Aug. 5 with 710,482, and the average daily vaccination was above 475,000 last week.

“At this rate, and with recent vaccine deliveries arriving on time, we are confident that we will be able to inoculate the required number of people by the end of 2021, particularly in densely populated areas,” it said, promising closer coordination with local government units and the private sector.

The increased vaccination rate is anticipated to “significantly decrease the need for wide-scale quarantines, particularly in important economic areas where the majority of Filipinos work,” according to the report.

“The DBCC will continue to monitor the impact of the Delta variant and the implementation of community quarantines, as well as proactively manage risks to aid in the recovery of the economy,” it said.

Meanwhile, economic managers maintained their GDP targets for next year, which range from 7% to 9%, and for 2023-2024, which range from 6% to 7%.

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