The Philippine economy may face its second straight year of recession amid the COVID-19 crisis without proper fiscal interventions from the government, said Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) President Emmanuel Leyco.
In an interview with ONE News on Tuesday (April 27), Leyco said this will further increase the number of jobless and hungry Filipinos.
“Given what we saw last month, the double dip looks like an inevitable scenario and I think that should be a wake-up call for all of us,” he said.
The PLM president, who is also a public finance and economics professor, said that while the first three months of 2021 looked promising after last year’s slump, the gains may be erased by the return to lockdowns for the past five weeks due to a surge in COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“Given the choice between going hungry and staying home, people were saying: ‘I’d rather take the risk to have some money to feed my family,’” he said.
“The consumer has been weakened and in fact, consumption almost collapsed. If we are going to take a look at whatever stimulus that should be injected into the economy, it should be directed towards the consumers,” he added.
Leyco has been calling for additional cash aid for displaced families for more than a year since local outbreaks led to business closures and worker layoffs, sending more people into poverty.
Under the national government’s one-time emergency cash assistance, qualified beneficiaries will only receive P1,000.
“You have to strengthen, you have to reinforce, you have to put money in the pockets of our consumers. Unfortunately, that is not happening, and I am not sure that is in the agenda. The limited ayuda that has been given to our people barely created a dent,” Leyco said.