Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

The Philippine economy strongly recovered in the second quarter this year with an 11.8-percent growth mainly driven by base effects and a “better balance” between addressing the impacts of the coronavirus and the need to restore jobs and incomes of Filipinos.

(Photo Courtesy: Nikkei Asia)

The April to June economic growth accelerated from -17 percent in the same period last year and was the highest gross domestic product (GDP) recorded since the fourth quarter of 1988.

“Almost all sectors bounced back despite the imposition of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) last April and May 2021. This is a clear indication that managing risks, instead of shutting down large segments of the economy, stands a far better chance of improving both economic and health outcomes,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in a virtual press briefing Tuesday, reading a joint statement of the government’s economic managers.

Chua said unlike last year’s ECQ where 75 percent of the economy was shut down, most industries and services continued to operate, public transportation remained available, and workers were exempted from the curfew during the ECQ enforced in the second quarter.

The National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite were placed under the strictest quarantine mode from March 29 to April 11 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“The increase in economic activity has led to more Filipinos regaining their jobs and income. The recent labor force survey results for June 2021 showed that the economy generated an additional 2.5 million jobs compared to the pre-pandemic level, and the quality of employment has improved given the much lower underemployment rate,” he said.

Chua, chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) will review the recent economic data and the risks associated with the Delta variant to fine-tune growth targets and adjust recovery strategies.

“…With the second-quarter results, they are going to help us achieve our target for the year. However, it also depends on the outcome of this present ECQ. If we are able to manage the risk and everyone cooperates and adheres to the health protocol, then we will be able to lift the ECQ sooner. On the other hand, if we do not comply, then it is possible that the ECQ will be long term. We will maximize the use of this present period to inoculate as many as we can so that we can pave the way for the safe reopening of the economy and minimize the risk in the second half of 2021,” he said.

He added they are expecting the arrival of over 148 million doses of the vaccine during the remainder of 2021, optimistic to inoculate 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by year-end.

Chua said had the country not managed the risks better, allowed most sectors to operate, and enforced the health protocols, the seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter economic growth could have been worse.

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