Recovery can start this Christmas season

Published November 23, 2020, 11:10 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and in the rest of the world, where it is surging in a new wave of infections and deaths. We are fortunate the virus has not been as virulent in our country as it has been in the United States, India, Brazil, France, Russia, Spain , United Kingdom, Argentina, Italy, and Colombia, the top ten nations in the latest pandemic list of the World Health Organization. The Philippines, in comparison, is only No. 26 in the list.
Now that the medical cases are down, we have begun to look forward to recovery .of the national economy which has suffered from the lockdown restrictions imposed by the government in the last eight months.
Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said this weekend that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 16.9 percent in the second quarter of this year – April, May, June  – at the height of the pandemic. Its fall eased to 4.5 percent in the tnird quarter – July, August, September. We are now in the fourth quarter – October, November, December. “We are still anticipating the economy will contract in the fourth quarter,” Governor Diokno said, “but at a more moderate rate.”
We are now looking towards recovery of the economy. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has launched a campaign to assist the nation’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME), a sector of the national economy that suffered greatly in the last eight months. With people told to stay home, thousands of these small stores had to close down for lack of customers.
The DTI has now launched a “Buy Local, Support Local” campaign, calling on the people to buy local goods – sweets and other food, clothes, keepsakes, home decorations especially this Christmas seasom. The nation’s biggest mall organization, SM, has partnered with DTI in this Buy Local, Support Local campaign, providing small and medium enterprises a way to sell their products in SM‘s Christmas Markets now underway in 54 malls nationwide.
This Christmas season should help in the nation’s economic recovey after eight months of economic lockdown. There is still need for people to maintain their vigilance against COVID-19 – to wear face masks, maintain social distancing, and repeatedly wash their hands. As they start venturing out into the streets and into malls and other places they used to frequent.
But it is the Christmas season and while it not quite like any previous Christmas season, we can start venturing out into a world so many us have avoided for months. In the process, can also help contribute to the economic recovery of the country through the “Buy Local, Support Local” campaign.