Reality check: Lopez says PH still far from its pre-COVID economy

Published February 9, 2021, 2:22 PM

by Betheena Unite

The Philippines is still far from regaining the pre-pandemic state of its economy, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez bared Tuesday, February 9.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez

While the country is “improving” and it steadily recovering from the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Lopez said “we are still far from pre-COVID.”

“We are seeing the signs of recovery (in our economy). We are not falling but improving gradually but we are still far from pre-COVID. So, we must continue with the gradual opening to provide more jobs,” Lopez said in Filipino during a televised press briefing.

The Cabinet official said the country’s vaccination program will “definitely have a positive effect” in terms of reopening the economy.

“It will have a positive effect. It will definitely regain much of lost consumer confidence and business confidence. People will be confident in going out,” Lopez said.

However, the Trade chief noted that even without the vaccine, the business sector has been proposing to ease quarantine restrictions to allow the gradual, calibrated, and safe reopening of the economy.

“We will continue with that strict implementation of health protocols. The granular easing of lockdown is something that we can consider even next month if the decrease in cases continues. Remember, we paused for a while due to the emergence of the new variant,” Lopez said.