The Philippine economy has already hit bottom and has started to recover from the coronavirus crisis, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III announced Friday.
Dominguez said business activities have begun to pick up but cited the need to expand transportation operations as well as stimulate consumer spending.
“The economy actually is already beginning to recover. Ang estimate ho naming, we hit already the lowest part of the economy which was (last) April (and) May. Iyon ho ang pinakamababa (that’s the lowest) as we can see,” he said during the meeting with President Duterte Thursday.
“We have a little — a few problems. Among them, number one, ‘yung transportation, kailangan we have to have more transportation available. We have to encourage people also to start spending their — to start spending money so that the economy can start picking up,” he said.
Dominguez also expressed optimism the country can return to normal once the coronavirus vaccine becomes available. “Once the vaccine is available, I’m sure the economy now can be fully open and we can start — not the new normal, the normal life,” he said.
So far, Dominguez said the country has no problem with liquidity, citing that inflation is “relatively low” while the Philippine peso remains the “strongest in Asia.”
“In other words, may pera (there is money). People are not short — I mean the economy is not short of money,” the country’s finance chief said.
“So people have faith in us. We are able also to finance it by borrowing locally at saka borrowing internationally. So we are in good shape to take this — to overcome this crisis,” he added.
The government has gradually eased the tough virus lockdown after the economy shrank in the first quarter. More businesses have been allowed to reopen while limited public transportation has been allowed in a bid to jumpstart the economy and restore the people’s livelihood.
The local economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the first three months of 2020 as the outbreak shut down many businesses and weakend consumption. Authorities earlier projected that economy is expected to further shrink in the second quarter.