We must face the world, and 2021 with confidence. The recent announcement of Fitch Ratings of a 6.9% growth this year and BBB credit rating with a stable outlook builds hope and confidence. Furthermore, the agency sees 8.0 percent GDP growth for next year; this makes us even more hopeful. (https://mb.com.ph/2021/01/11/fitch-maintains-phs-credit-rating/).
This, in my view is a vote of confidence in our country’s capacity to manage its debt, and a recognition of the growth potentials, raising the potential to attract investments and boost investor confidence. Yes, I believe we are recovering and will continue to recover from the disruptions of 2020. As these latest numbers show, we must always bear in mind that we all benefit from strong economic numbers and recovery, since this means jobs and opportunity for the Filipino. Those who wish the economy ill seek suffering for our Filipino brethren.
This bodes well for our recovery. Recall that at this same time last year, the Taal Volcano eruption set off 2020, and stymied economic activity in Metro Manila and the surrounding Southern Tagalog regions-the country’s major economic corridors. All other disruptions we are more than familiar with with the two supertyphoons late last year that adversely affected our food production in Luzon. Add to that the Asian Swine Flu that affected pork supplies.
Moving forward, we will definitely need to sustain this growth. Let;s push for economic reforms that can strengthen the economy and build resiliency in the medium and long term. Apart from the CREATE Bill I wrote about last week, other economic reforms are necessary to build resilience, such as the GUIDE and FIST bills.
The other supplementary reforms include improvements in logistics from the Visayas and Mindanao so that buffer supplies of food from these areas can reach Luzon markets in case of severe weather-related damage such as the ones we have seen. With logistics improvements in place we are seeing, such as the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa Express program, we will be able to mitigate the effects of disruptions. I wrote previously about the Benguet Agro Center and the cold storage and meat processing facilities.
Build, Build, Build needs to continue to provide the infrastructure we need. Let us help promote the digital economy so that it takes root root especially in the regions outside of Metro Manila, to allow producers access to the markets that need them.
What can we do as individuals to help recovery? A simple thing we can do is buy local goods and patronize local services. Think of just how much value we can add to the local economy and the jobs of neighbors by buying local. There are many young entrepreneurs, homepreneurs and mompreneurs, and even former OFWs making a living on creative food and crafts and online businesses using locally produced materials. Their products multiply the opportunity for their suppliers as well
Deepened, and strengthened faith
Many friends have asked me to write about my faith experience in 2020. I can say unabashedly that my faith was strengthened and I remain strong in the faith. This empowers me to continue hoping for better days and recovery, and more importantly, at least in my view, mindful of what I have to do to reach those better days. Faith emboldens me to move forward, and sustain that motion.
Continue to stay safe!