As the Duterte government decided to shift the gear towards the “recovery phase” of its national action plan against COVID-19, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Tuesday that it has been tapped to lead the government’s efforts to reboot the country’s economic landscape and restore jobs for the people while sustaining efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease.
During a virtual meeting with the House Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by AAMBIS-OWA partylist Rep. Sharon Garin, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon informed the lawmakers that the Task Force on Recovery has been formed and is chaired by NEDA.
“NEDA was recently assigned the task to chair the Task Group on Recovery,” she told the Garin panel.
“The objective really is to be able to restart economic and social activities, and at the same time, making sure we still have that whole of society fighting against the COVID.”
Edillon said the newly-formed Task Group, chaired by the NEDA, has the following sub-task groups: Economic Recovery – chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); Social Recovery – chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); and Governance – chaired by the Department of Interior and Local Government.
She noted that the local production of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is included in the “priority strategies” of the Economic Recovery Sub-Task Group.
The NEDA official said that on the aspect of social recovery, they are looking at tapping the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to produce washable masks, soap, and hand sanitizer.
She said they have identified the priority programs and projects that have to be implemented for the rest of the year.
“Having said that, we need to come up with innovative delivery mechanisms in consideration of the new normal and then we need to integrate anti-COVID measures into the PAPs (priority programs and projects),” Edillon said.
During the virtual panel meeting, Assistant Minority Leader and Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo questioned the delayed formation of the task group.
“Tanong ko lang (My question is), baket ngayon lang natin ginagawa ang pagbuo ng isang recovery team? (why are we creating the recovery team just now?). The purpose of lifting the lockdown is to reopen the economy and we started lifting the lockdown on May 1, so July na po ngayon (now is July , end-July parang nahuli (it was delayed). In other words, it would seem like na disjoint ‘yung pag-iisip tungkol sa recovery at lockdown (the way of thinking about recovery and lockdown is disjointed), when in fact they are intricately intertwined,”
Edillon begged off to answer Quimbo’s query, saying that she will just send her answer through Viber.
“I hope better late than never siguro (I suppose). But actually, many of the strategies we are actually putting in place right now have already been identified in the We Recover As One. Anyway, we are happy na din na tinawag kami (we are asked) to chair this Task Force, bago lang ito (this is new), the Task Force on Recovery,” she said.