PH economy needs two years to recover

Published August 26, 2021, 4:58 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

President Duterte’s economic mangers said the economy will return to pre-pandemic levels within the next two-years, reassuring Congress that the country has the capacity for a rapid expansion pace.


During the House Committee on Appropriations’ deliberations on the proposed 2022 national budget plan, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that prospects for a solid recovery remain.

Dominguez said the Duterte administration is fully determined to restore the vigor of the Philippine economy at the soonest possible time.

“In the face of this unprecedented crisis, we will continue to work hard until the very last minute of our term to ensure a legacy of a dynamic and market-driven economy for the Filipino people,” Dominguez said.

The finance chief cited that the 11.8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second-quarter, which was significantly higher than what the market predicted, underscored the strong capacity of the local economy to return to the path of rapid expansion.

Based on the estimates presented by Chua, who heads the the National Economic and Development Authority, the economy may return to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels “some time at the end of 2022, if not early 2023.”

But while the economy began to show signs of recovery, Chua admitted that sustainability of growth momentum will still depend on the actions to be taken in dealing with the prolonged pandemic.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) had shaved off its GDP outlook this year from an earlier target band of 6.0 percent to 7.0 percent to between 4.0 percent and 6.0 percent.

The economic team attributed the slower growth pace on “the reimposition of stricter mobility restrictions in various areas of the country.”

While GDP accelerated in the second-quarter to its highest in over three-decades, the local economy was seen losing some momentum as the latest number showed a contraction of 1.3 percent compared with the January to March output.

Dominguez admitted that the country is facing a future that is still uncertain.

“We are facing a crisis unlike any other we have faced before,” Dominguez had said. “We have a virus that is mutating, and the mutations are quite severe so far in their new variants. So I cannot predict what will happen in the future.”

The DBCC expects the economy to grow 7.0 percent to 9.0 percent next year, and for 2023 and 2024 at 6.0 percent to 7.0 percent.