Malacañang is optimistic that the Philippine economy will rise again in 2021 after a recession year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement as the government continues to gradually ease restrictions to revive the economy.
In his message on the Duterte's administration year-end report, Roque said President Duterte's economic managers are hopeful for 2021 even though figures were far from desirable.
"While these are far from what we desire, the administration’s economic managers are hopeful that the economy will be on a rebound next year," he said.
Roque acknowledged that 2020 had been a challenging year for the Philippines with natural calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to the decline in the country's growth.
"The Philippine economy registered a -16.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020 when we are in the most stringent form of lockdown due to the coronavirus," he said, referring to the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) that required the closure of many businesses.
Eventually, the country's growth improved in the third quarter of 2020. Malacañang still saw it as welcome news even though the data was still in the negative.
According to Roque, the improvement in the country's growth meant that the government's strategy to reopen the economy, including the gradual return of public transportation, worked.
"Eventually we improved in the third quarter, with -11.5 percent, when we gradually reopened our economy. Albeit negative, we consider this as the beginning of recovery," he added.
The Palace official said that the designation of National Task Force Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. as vaccine czar augurs well for the country as this will ensure that the Philippines has access to potential COVID-19 vaccine once available.
With the Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap laid out and the expected rollout of vaccines next year, Roque said Filipinos from all walks of life have become optimistic about the country’s recovery in the coming year.
Galvez said that negotiations with pharmaceutical companies are ongoing and that the Philippines may get a vaccine within the first quarter of 2021.