President Duterte expressed confidence that the Philippine economy can bounce back next year owing to the glowing outlook that global investment banking firm Goldman Sachs has for the country.
Duterte said that according to Sachs, the Philippines “is expected to be the strong economy in ASEAN by 2022”. ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which the Philippines is a founding member.
“Well, that remains to be seen. We still have to worry about the coming Omicron and how it would impact on the population of the Philippines,” he said in his pre-recorded public address on Monday night, Dec. 6.
The President was referring to the new variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first identified in South Africa but now detected in nearby India and Hong Kong.
The Philippines has closed its borders to select African countries and has restricted the entry of travelers from those with existing Omicron cases.
It is not clear yet if the new variant is more transmissible and deadlier than the Delta variant, and if it can circumvent the antibodies produced by the COVID-19 vaccines.
Duterte said that financial analysts believed the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) can hit more than the 7.1 percent it posted in the third quarter of 2021.
“But the confidence, at least, is there…Sana, sana kung pag-ano (Hopefully, hopefully, if ever)—Inshallah. This will be a good Christmas for everybody,” he added.
The Philippines has posted fewer than 700 new cases of COVID-19 for the eighth straight day on Monday as markets and establishments continue to operate at relatively high capacity amid the holiday season, which is traditionally the busiest and most profitable period for businesses in the country.