MANILA – Malacañang expressed confidence on Tuesday that the Philippine economy will recover despite the recent stricter quarantine measures in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces due to the spike in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.
“Puwede pang maka-recover (We can still recover),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press conference. “Pero naniniwala naman po tayo na makakahabol tayo (We are confident that we can catch up).”
Roque issued the statement, a day after Moody’s Analytics forecast that the Philippines may return to its pre-pandemic level by end of 2022, making its status as a “regional laggard” amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Moody’s Analytics also slashed its gross domestic product projection to 5.3 percent from its previous forecast of 6.3 percent annual growth for 2021.
Roque acknowledged that there is a slow pace of the country’s economic growth during the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and more relaxed modified ECQ (MECQ) in National Capital Region (NCR) Plus composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
“Inaamin nga po natin na nakakalungkot na dahil nga po sa pagpasok ng mga bagong variant eh we had to resort to MECQ na naging dahilan para maging sarado ang 60 percent ng ating ekonomiya dito sa Metro Manila Plus (We admit that is it saddening because we had to resort to MECQ because of the new variants, prompting 60 percent of our economy in Metro Manila Plus to shut down),” he said.
Roque, however, remained optimistic about the country’s economic revival.
“Sana hindi naman po (I hope that [the forecast] won’t happen),” Roque said, noting that the National Economic and Development Authority has projected that the Philippine economy could grow to 6 to 7 percent this year despite lockdowns.
NCR Plus was placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 11. The quarantine status was later downgraded to MECQ from April 12 to May 14.
To reopen more sectors despite the threat posed by Covid-19, NCR Plus was put under the less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) from May 15 to 31 but with “heightened restrictions.”
Due to the imposition of ECQ in NCR Plus and the threat of newer Covid-19 variants, the country’s economic team has downscaled their economic growth target range to 6 to 7 percent from the previous 6.5 to 7.5 percent.
Roque reiterated his call on the public to continue following minimum public health standards to bring down the Covid-19 cases in the country and enable more industries to reopen amid the pandemic.
Complete Marawi rehab by 2022
Meantime, Roque said the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City will be completed before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office in 2022.
“Lahat po ng public infrastructure projects na in-identify natin ay matatapos po sa termino ni Presidente (All public infrastructure projects we have identified will be done before the President’s term ends),” he said.
Roque made the statement, as he expressed intent to visit Marawi in June to check the current status of ongoing projects in the city.
The five-month Marawi battle between the military and forces allied with the Islamic State began on May 23, 2017. (PNA)