The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the gradual lifting of quarantine restrictions and continuous vaccination rollout will help the economy recover and return to pre-pandemic levels by next year.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said on Tuesday, June 15, that the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), may still grow by 6.0 percent to 7.0 percent this year.
“The main difference between last year’s quarantine and this year is that we did not shut down 75 percent of the economy,” Chua said during the annual forum hosted by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP).
In fact, Chua said the government allowed the public transport to operate even during this year’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“In terms of mobility, we are just 25 percent down from the normal period, compared to last year when we were around 50 to 80 percent down. This shows the kind of recovery that we are expecting in the second quarter,” Chua said.
Moreover, he asserted that the country’s solid macroeconomic fundamentals, as a result of structural reforms undertaken before the pandemic, have better prepared the country to address the crisis.
These will serve as the starting point of the country’s economic recovery, Chua said.
“In other words, unlike a war where the productive assets of the economy are destroyed, none of our infrastructure, our human resources, and our reforms were affected,” Chua said.
“The economic performance you see today is due to an artificial policy of restricting economic performance because of excessive risk aversion last year. That is why we are changing our objective to risk management,” he added.
The NEDA chief reiterated that the country’s economic potential remains. Unlike last year, the economy is projected to grow at 6.0 percent to 7.0 percent in 2021 and 7.0 percent to 9.0 percent in 2022 as the government recalibrates its risk management strategy.
Chua said vaccination, which deployment for the A4 group of workers began on June 7, 2021, is crucial in restoring the people’s confidence in resuming economic activities.
As of June 1, close to seven million doses have been given to priority groups A1, A2, A3, and A4. “We have decided to open the A4 category to all workers in the National Capital Region and high-risk provinces. By doing so, we can achieve herd immunity sooner,” he said.