PH economy seen back to pre-pandemic level earlier than 2023 — Lopez

Published March 1, 2021, 4:50 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Trade and Industry Ramon M. Lopez expressed optimism that the Philippine economy will go back to pre-pandemic level ahead of 2023 that President Duterte earlier projected.

“It is still possible.  Will do our best, through other economic reforms and programs,” Lopez said when asked if the economy would be back to pre-pandemic level ahead of 2023.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO FILE PHOTO)

During the Laging Handa briefing in Malacanang, Lopez clarified that President Duterte’s earlier statement that the country would be back to the normal by 2023 yet could be referring to the the pre-pandemic level where there was no movement restriction. 

He said that Filipinos has learned to live with the virus and many sectors of the economy have been opened even if the quarantine and restrictions are still in place. But it does not mean that the country will remain under the current economic condition two years from now, he said.

The DTI chief, who has been vocal about safely reopening the economy and relaxation of the age restriction, also said that the government is “not reckless” in its efforts to reopen the economy noting that health restrictions and safety protocols are even strictly imposed as the economy is gradually reopened.

In fact, he further cited that the number of COVID cases has been down from a high of 4,000 to 2,000 daily cases now. It only showed that the government has managed well the pandemic amid a gradual reopening of the economy.

He said that the vaccine rollout on Monday, March 1, only heightened the optimism for recovery. He also cited the coming up of unified set requirements among local government units to improve mobility of Filipinos especially those outside of residence. 

“This is the way to slowly reopen the economy without shifting to modified global community quarantine,” he said stressing that only 8 provinces are still under the general community quarantine while the rest or the vast majority of the country are already under a more relaxed MGCQ.