MANILA – The Philippine economy may have hit rock bottom but Malacañang is more optimistic about its recovery as the economy starts to reopen after months of coronavirus-linked lockdowns.
The recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that about 40 percent of Filipinos expect the economy to worsen in the next 12 months due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque acknowledged the survey result but opted to look at the bright side since the worst had already happened.
“Naintindihan po natin kung bakit pessimistic ang ating mga kababayan pero ang sinasabi naman po ng mga economic managers (I understand why our citizens are pessimistic but like our economic managers say), ‘We have hit rock bottom and the only way to go is up’,” Roque said.
He said the country’s economy compressed because most businesses had to close operations following the imposition of the most stringent enhanced community quarantine across the country.
However, since most areas are now under less restrictive quarantine classifications, Roque said more businesses have been allowed to operate to a certain extent.
The government, he said, is also enhancing its efforts to ensure that those infected are immediately treated.
“Tingin ko po bumabangon na po tayo (I think we are already recovering). It will not be as bad, it can only be better,”
He urged the public to unite in efforts to rebuild the economy while observing minimum health and safety standards.
“Kapit-bisig po tayo, hanapbuhay po tayong lahat, bubuksan po natin ang ekonomiya. Nandiyan pa rin po si Covid pero kaya po nating pag-ingatan ang ating mga sarili at sama-sama po tayong babangon (Let’s join hands, livelihood for all, let’s open our economy. Covid is here to stay but we are ensuring our health and we will recover together),” Roque said.
He said the soon-to-be-signed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 bill would include loans to help badly-hit sectors, such as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), transport, tourism, and agriculture.
The SWS national mobile phone survey, conducted from July 3 to 6, showed that 40 percent of Filipinos expected the economy to worsen, 24 percent expected it to stay the same, and 30 percent expected it to improve in the next 12 months.
The 40 percent economic pessimists in July 2020 were the highest since the 52 percent in June 2008, the survey showed.
In August, the Philippine Statistics Authority said the country has officially entered into recession for the first time in almost 30 years with a 16.5-percent economic plunge in the second quarter due to the lockdowns. (PNA)