Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday August 11 congratulated the country’s economic resilience, noting that the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 11.8 percent in the second quarter of 2021, overcoming the slump brought on by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Go, however, emphasized that the Duterte Administration continues to carefully strike a balance between health and economic interests in order to sustain the growth, ensure that more lives are saved, and no one is left behind towards recovery.
He said that while the fight against COVID-19 continues, so does the fight against poverty and hunger in order to provide a more comfortable life for every Filipino as promised by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Malaki ang inilago ng ating ekonomiya sa ikalawang quarter ng 2021, kabaliktaran sa parehong quarter po ng 2020 (There was marked improvement in our economy in the second quarter of 2021). Patunay ito na habang nilalabanan natin ang pandemya, nagsisikap rin tayong labanan ang gutom at kahirapan (This goes to show that while we try to contain the epidemic, we also focus on fighting hunger and poverty),” Go said.
The economic rebound follows after a revised 3.9 percent contraction in the first quarter of 2021 and the 17 percent drop in the second quarter of last year. The growth rate also outperformed the 10 percent median growth prediction of analysts surveyed by Reuters, and the 10.6 percent median growth projection of economists asked by BusinessWorld.
Go, a former Special Assistant to President Duterte, acknowledged the dedication of the Duterte Administration’s economic managers, who have worked hard to protect the economy despite the current COVID-19 restrictions.
Nevertheless, Go warned Filipinos not to be complacent as the threat of COVID-19 continues to spread and evolve especially with the emergence of a more contagious Delta variant.
In the past year, the senator from Davao has made a number of appeals to guarantee that the economy is sustained despite the adverse effects of the pandemic.
Go, chairman of the Senate Health committee, appealed last May for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to be fast-tracked for economic frontliners for them to help uplift livelihoods in their communities.
He also backed the “Focus and Expand–Center of Gravity” vaccination approach, which focuses efforts in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, and Batangas; as well as Metro Cebu and Metro Davao. These are economic hubs that account for 72% of the country’s GDP. As a result, they are also at the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission.
However, he also urged authorities to make sure that vaccines reach far-flung communities so that they would also be protected and not be left behind.
Go explained that once population protection is achieved through vaccination, and communities eventually reach herd immunity, more economic sectors can open and prosper towards achieving full recovery.
Go had also appealed for emergency financial assistance for low-income individuals, such as Social Amelioration Programs, and Small Business Wage Subsidies.
He also recently successfully requested the government to provide financial aid for areas that reverted to strict enhanced community quarantine measures.
Previously, Go also lauded President Duterte for signing Executive Order No. 140, which officially adopted the National Employment Recovery Strategy as the Philippine government’s master plan for the restoration of the country’s labor market.