Based on government data, the Philippine economy fell by 4.2 percent in the first three months of 2021.
If the amount of economic losses during this period was added up, it will reach P186 billion, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority analyzed by ABS. -CBN Data Analytics.
Due to the pandemic, the economy collapsed for five consecutive quarters. The Philippines remains in recession.
The amount lost to the country’s economy in more than 1 year has reached more than P2 trillion. This is almost 45 percent of the government’s 2021 budget of 4.5 trillion.
Five consecutive quarter contractions last occurred in the 1980s in conjunction with the country’s debt crisis. Up to 9 consecutive quarters were recession then.
For Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua, the economic downturn will not last long as the number of COVID-19 cases in Manila is also declining.
First time since 1980s: Economy down for 15 months
“The latest data show NCR cases has gone down by 60 percent or to 2,000. When we had the MECQ last August we hit a high of 4,000 cases. When we hit 2,000 cases, We moved to GCQ. So these are some indications that there is some opening to relax to quarantine. But this is subject to IATF resolution when we do the cost-benefit analysis,” said Chua.
But according to the group Action for Economic Reforms, all this will be ignored if the COVID-19 case resurfaces.
“Kung low ‘yung transmission, we can dance with the virus. Puwede tayo, puwedeng-puwedeng lumuwag ang takbo ng ating business activities. Pero once na tumataas ang transmission at nate-threaten o nao-overwhelm mismo ang ating health system, then kailangan ulit mag-restrict,” said co-founder of the group Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III.
For Chua, contact tracing should be intensified.
“Our contact tracing is not as fast as we want it. Models show that if we can have faster contact tracing, we will be able to reduce new cases faster and move to lighter quarantine conditions quicker,” said Chua.
Today, the Philippines is still the poorest economy among major ASEAN countries.