Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

The Duterte administration is banking on key policy measures and reforms, including those aimed at placing the Philippines in a strong position to weather the impact of the pandemic, to boost recovery to achieve an upper middle-income country status by next year.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) retained its growth targets of 6 percent to 7 percent this year, and 7 percent to 9 percent in 2022.

The Philippine economy shrank a record 9.5 percent in 2020 and posted a smaller contraction of 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021 but was expected to stage a strong recovery before the end of the year with the rollout of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“This is a strong signal for the return to pre-pandemic or 2019 output levels by 2022. Growth will be driven by the government’s three-pillar strategy to accelerate economic recovery,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.

Chua said the three pillars that will govern economic recovery include the safe re-opening of the economy, the implementation of the recovery program, and the timely implementation of the government’s vaccine deployment program.

“Once the present spike is over, the government will implement quarantine relaxations in a phased approach to boost our recovery this year. Over the near term, the government will work towards moving NCR (National Capital Region) to MGCQ (modified general community quarantine), or better, allow families and children to participate in the economy, and restart face-to-face schooling,” he said.

As of July 22, some 5.560 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus while 10.866 million doses have been given as the first dose, according to the National Task Force Against Covid-19.

Chua said the recovery program includes the P4.5-trillion fiscal year 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA), the extended validity of the 2020 GAA, and the implementation of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives (CREATE) and Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) laws.

The 2021 GAA aims to address the Covid-19 pandemic through health-related response programs and accelerate infrastructure development through the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) infrastructure program.

“We are investing in a wide range of infrastructure projects. They are not only roads or airports but also health facilities, also digital infrastructure – one of them is the National ID (identification). All of these are needed during this pandemic and our move to the new normal,” Chua earlier said in a media briefing.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said seven projects amounting to P39.9 billion that were part of the infrastructure flagship project (IFP) list approved in 2017, 2019, and 2020 have been completed.

On the current list of 112 IFPs that was confirmed by the NEDA Board last May 12, there are 17 projects amounting to P154.8 billion that are expected to be completed by June 2022 when Duterte’s term ends.

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