Strong COVID response will help upturn PH economy — VP Robredo

Published January 25, 2021, 9:16 AM

by Raymund Antonio

Improving the government’s current policies and COVID-19 response will upturn the country’s economy and lead it toward progress, Vice President Leni Robredo said.

Vice President Leni Robredo

The country’s second top official lamented the recent projection by a Japanese investment firm that the Philippines, along with Thailand, will lag behind its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors in the region’s economic recovery this year because of its weak response to the pandemic.

ASEAN is composed of the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei, and Laos.

“We hope that our policies and response will improve so that this initial projection can still change. The (projection) is not cast in stone. What I mean is that projections are based on what we are doing right now. The longer we prolong what we’re going through right now, the more the economy is suffering,” Robredo said in an interview over dzXL.

Last month, Japanese investment house Nomura said that the Philippines and Thailand will be the last ones to recover economically because of the pandemic. This, despite the fact that it sees Asia posting an average domestic product growth of 8.1% this year.

It predicted, however, that the Philippines and Thailand will only reach their pre-pandemic output levels by the second quarter of 2022.

Robredo lamented such predictions, adding that it will lead to more unemployment and business closures.

“What we are doing in the office is we’re looking for ways—our resources are limited and even our mandate—but we are identifying the ways how we can help,” the vice president said.

Together with her staff, Robredo said they had to reassess how they can help communities. Right now, they are prioritizing the Office of the Vice President’s Sustainable Livelihood Assistance to help alleviate the lives of the vulnerable sectors of society.

During the height of the pandemic outbreak, Robredo led the way for the procurement, production, and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and relief packs to health care workers.

She said they will soon concentrate on the rehabilitation part of their program once they are finished distributing the PPEs and medical supplies.

Even the donations sent to her office for the victims of Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses last year are being used to build homes. Her office’s fund, meanwhile, is used for livelihood programs because “we believe these are the current problems we are facing, these will help (the people).”