PH economy to return to pre-pandemic level by H2

Published May 24, 2022, 5:56 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said the economy will return to pre-pandemic activities by the second half of 2022, provided the incoming administration focuses on the micro, small, and medium enterprises and alert levels are not heightened.

The Go Negosyo founder made this optimistic assessment of the country’s economic future during the Laging Handa public briefing stressing that consumer spending remained up, despite higher inflation.

“We are moving forward,” he said. He also observed that business has been surprisingly resilient despite several challenges such as the threat of new Covid variants and rising commodity prices because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

He qualified, however, that this return to robust economic growth can be sustained if the incoming administration focuses its efforts on the country’s MSMEs.

Concepcion also allayed fears that the growth trajectory will be hampered by a further increase in Covid infections. “I’m not so worried at this point because we still have lots of vaccines; we just need to implement and boost more,” he said. Filipinos’ high compliance with wearing face masks, he believes, probably contributed to maintaining low-risk levels.

Concepcion cited findings of an OCTA Research Tugon ng Masa survey which found that more than half, or 66 percent of its 2,400 respondents, will choose to wear face masks even when Covid is brought under control.

“I believe masking will have to stay for some time until the virus simmers down and disappears,” he said. “It will be important for our exit strategy.” Concepcion said that with the elections concluded, local governments can return their focus on vaccinations, especially now that the challenge is convincing Filipinos to take their booster shots.

“That’s why we’re intensifying our Booster to the Max campaign, and reminding people that the freedoms we enjoy today are because of vaccinations,” he said. Concepcion reiterated his appeal for the Health Technology Assessment Council to adopt guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control which recommends second boosters for 50 years and older.

“We have so many vaccines in stock and they will just go to waste if we don’t remove the barriers,” he said. “Most of those in the 50 years and older category are our economic frontliners, and although infections may be muted for now, we have to protect them from infections and from the threat of long Covid,” he said.

Long Covid presents prolonged symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath and joint pains among patients who contracted Covid. Experts said that long Covid is a threat to productivity and may decrease quality of life for those who suffer from it.