June 15, 2021

With the progress of limitations and the introduction of vaccines, the recovery is visible

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the progressive relaxation of quarantine restrictions and continued vaccine rollout would help the Philippine economy recover by 6 to 7% in 2021 and return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.

“The big difference between last year’s quarantine and this year’s is that we did not shut down 75% of the economy as we did last year. Even during this year’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), we allowed public transportation to operate,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said at the annual discussion held by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP).

“In the past three months, despite the ECQ or modified ECQ, more individuals are going to work. In terms of mobility, we are just 25% below average, compared to previous year, when we were between 50 and 80 percent below average. This demonstrates the kind of rebound we anticipate in the second quarter,” he continued.

According to Chua, the nation’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals, which were achieved as a consequence of structural changes implemented before to the epidemic, have better positioned the government to deal with the crisis.

He claims that they will be the beginning point for the country’s economic revival.

“We had great growth before the crisis. We were on the verge of becoming an upper middle-income nation in 2020, two years ahead of schedule. We did a fantastic job managing inflation. We had our best budgetary position in history, thanks in large part to tax reform. The new credit rating from Standard and Poor’s, which retained our credit rating at BBB+ with a stable outlook, is proof of the strong macro-fiscal foundation,” Chua added.

According to Chua, the country’s infrastructure, people resources, and reforms have not been harmed.

“The current economic performance is the result of an artificial policy of limiting economic growth last year owing to excessive risk aversion. That is why we have changed our goal to risk management,” he said.

The NEDA chairman said again that the country’s economic potential is still there. In contrast to last year, the economy is expected to expand at a pace of 6 to 7% in 2021 and 7% to 9% in 2022 as the government rebalances its risk management approach.

“This recovery will be guided by three pillars. The first is reopening the economy at the right moment and enabling a wider age range to go out with precautions in place, such as the return of face-to-face learning in low-risk locations. The second is the expedited execution of the recovery plan, which includes approximately 2 trillion pesos in fiscal, monetary, and financial resources, or 15% of GDP. The third is the vaccine program’s timely implementation,” he said.

Chua also emphasized the necessity of immunization in restoring people’s faith in the economy.

The A4 set of employees started receiving vaccines on June 7, 2021. Priority groups A1, A2, A3, and A4 have received close to seven million treatments as of June 13, 2021, he stated.

“We’ve decided to expand the A4 category to include all employees in the National Capital Region and high-risk areas. We may attain herd immunity sooner if we do this,” he noted.

Chua further said that the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), also known as the National ID program, is on pace to fulfill its goal of 50-70 million registrations by the end of 2021, claiming that over 35 million Filipinos have already completed the first phase.

He claims that this would boost human capital development and help in the country’s revival.


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