Keep safe recovery program rolling

August 12, 2021 Mario Fetalino Jr. 222 views

Mario FetalinoGOVERNMENT measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are doing fine. Otherwise, the business community would oppose how the state is handling the crisis.

For instance, instead of rejecting the COVID-19 responses of the government, the Makati Business Club expressed its support to government steps for safe economic recovery.

This came as the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) recorded its first growth after five quarters of decline.

The MBC has also welcomed the 3.7-percent economic growth for the first half of the year despite the reimposition of strict community quarantine measures in Metro Manila and nearby provinces from end-March to mid-May.

“MBC continues to support the road to economic recovery and calls on the rest of the business community to actively support and collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to help facilitate safe recovery.

The government said GDP in the second quarter of 2021 stood at 11.8 percent, mainly because of the low base during the same period last year.

Manufacturing, construction, and wholesale and retail trade were the main drivers of economic growth in April to June 2021 period.

However, recovery prospects are threatened by the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, which prompted the government to impose the strictest mobility restrictions in early August.

The business group hopes that the government’s Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate strategy and the faster rollout of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines will contain the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.

“If these programs were effectively implemented, businesses and workers would be able to return to work even as the pandemic continues,” MBC said.

In another positive development, the Philippine economy strongly recovered in the second quarter this year to 11.8 percent 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.

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 (enhanced community quarantine and the 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 explained.

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 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 rise 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.

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