The Philippine economy shrank by a record 9.5 percent in 2020 but is expected to stage a strong recovery before the end of the year with the rollout of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Thursday also reported the gross domestic product (GDP) posted a smaller contraction of 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
The 2020 GDP marks the first time in 21 years that the country registered negative economic growth. It was also the worst GDP drop since 1984, when the economy shrank by 7 percent.
However, the Duterte administration still remains optimistic for an economic rebound this year.
“The prospects for 2021 are encouraging. With the continuous calibrated reopening of businesses and mass transportation, and the relaxation of age group restrictions, we will see more economic activity in the months ahead,” said acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, reading a prepared joint statement of the government’s economic managers in a virtual press conference.
Chua said the Duterte administration’s efforts to increasingly open the economy while fast-tracking the vaccination program and keeping the Covid-19 caseload to the lowest level possible would boost business and consumer confidence that are crucial to a robust economic recovery.
“All of these efforts to contain the coronavirus and revive the economy will allow us to prevent long-term economic scarring and productivity losses and recover to the pre-pandemic level by mid-2022,” he added.
Chua said the country had targeted in 2022 the achievement of two important economic milestones – achieving an upper middle-income country status and lifting some 6 million Filipinos out of poverty.
“All of these relative to our own performance and the targets we have set are actually on track. And if we work together to address the remaining issues around both Covid and non-Covid issues, then we will be able to achieve the 6.5 to 7.5 percent growth target this year and the 8 to 10 percent growth target next year, and those two (targets) will put us right where we want to be based on our PDP (Philippine Development Plan) targets,” he told reporters. SOVEREIGNPH