Only less than 5 percent of establishments have remained closed from a peak of 34 percent last year, according to the latest Impact Assessment Survey of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez announced this improvement in his message at the Association of Filipino Franchise Inc. (AFFI) Anniversary Emergency Podcast.
In March this year, Lopez said the number of closed firms further declined to 4.6 percent or 662 establishments. The survey result also showed that 56.4 percent or 8,711 fully are already operational, and 39.3 percent or 6,061 partially operating.
From a peak of 34.2 percent of establishments surveyed that fully stopped last year, Lopez said, the number had gone down to 10 percent in October and 5 percent in November during the first year of the pandemic when strict lockdowns were implemented across the country.
The latest DTI impact assessment survey was conducted from January 28 to February 2021 covering a total of 15,434 micro, small and medium enterprises.
He said establishments have gradually reopened resulting in smaller number of firms on shutdown. Others, he said, may have shifted to other businesses. While others continued to experience difficulties, more have found other opportunities.
With this, Lopez expressed hope of an earlier economic recovery. Earlier, Lopez said he expects the economy to post a positive growth in the third quarter but this time the DTI chief was hopeful for an earlier second quarter positive GDP growth.
“I think ‘yung recovery natin ay nagsisimula na ngayong second quarter. At least makakakita na tayo ng from a negative growth last year to a positive GDP growth this second, and even in the third quarter,” he said in a mix of Tagalog and English.
He, however, said that his projection of positive growth starting in the second quarter would still be far from the pre-pandemic GDP levels, but at least it will be already in the positive terrritory.
He said that growth will be fueled by the vaccination rollout as this would boost consumer and business confidence.
Again, he urged the continued safe reopening of more sectors to support recovery efforts.
To ensure that our country’s economic recovery, the DTI has been implementing since last year the “Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods, and Domestic Demand” or REBUILD Strategy.
“This is our economic recovery plan anchored on a vision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to create a modern, dynamic, and responsible Philippines,” he said.
Additionally, the government has launched various recovery initiatives, like the Mid-Term update of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, ReCharge PH, and the Task Group on Economic Recovery. This also includes the recent signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular constituting the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) 2021-2023.