President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed an executive order which lays down a 10-point policy agenda aimed at accelerating the economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, just a little over three months before he steps down from office.
EO 166 which was recommended by the Economic Development Cluster, said, “There is an urgent need to adopt policies on economic recovery to sustain current economic gains, minimize the pandemic’s long-term adverse effects, and restore the country’s development trajectory.”
All government departments, bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities must ensure that their policies, measures, and programs are aligned with the following principles:
1. Strengthening the healthcare capacity in line with international standards;
2. Accelerating and expanding the vaccination drive;
3. Reopening the economy and expanding public transport capacity, while maintaining the current alert level system;
4. Resuming face-to-face learning;
5. Reducing domestic travel restrictions and standardizing requirements, except as reasonably required by the local government unit of destination;
6. Relaxing international travel requirements with quarantine exemptions for the vaccinated;
7. Accelerating the digital transformation through the passage of key legislation;
8. Providing enhanced and flexible emergency measures, such as the creation of stand-by funds and standardization of allowances for health workers;
9. Shifting the focus of government reporting and decision-making to more useful metrics, such as: (i) total or severe cases, (ii) case fatality ratio, and (iii) total vaccinations; and
10. Developing a Comprehensive Pandemic Response Framework for future pandemics.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go sees the move as helping more Filipinos recoup the losses they sustained amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Inaasahan natin na kung mas maraming sektor ng ekonomiya ang mabubuksan ay mas maraming mga kababayan natin ang makakabalik sa kanilang mga trabaho. Ibig sabihin, mas maraming pamilya ang makakabangon mula sa hirap na dulot ng pandemya,” the senator explained.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 will also be responsible for implementing the agenda. Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shall monitor compliance.
“Since day one ng pandemya, maingat na binabalanse ng gobyerno ang kalusugan at kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan natin. Kahit may krisis, sinisikap nating maging malakas at maunlad ang ekonomiya upang magkaroon muli ng trabaho ang mga nawalan at maiwasan ang gutom at hirap,” remarked Go.
The Philippine economy grew by 5.6% in 2021, rebounding from the 9.6% contraction in 2020. Economic managers are targeting a 7-9% gross domestic product growth this year.