HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday credited the “spirit of teamwork and cooperation” in the Philippines as being responsible for the dramatic growth of the country’s economy in the second quarter.
“We rejoice with the news that the Philippine economy grew 11.8 percent, year-on-year, in the second quarter. This officially marks the end of a pandemic-induced recession that bogged us down for fifteen months,” said Romualdez, chairman of the House Committee on Rules.
“I credit this to the spirit of teamwork and cooperation that Filipinos have shown in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The solidarity among branches of government, as well as the private sector, is unprecedented,” Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), added.
Romualdez said it was also wise for the Duterte administration to anchor the country’s economic recovery on a massive coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccination campaign, which is now picking up steam.
“We are on the right track in recognizing mass vaccination as the key to economic rebound. Despite limited global supply, our vaccination is picking up steam and is getting the results that we wanted for our economy,” Romualdez added.
Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez had recently reported that on top of the 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses which arrived to date, 70 million more doses will be delivered in the third quarter, plus 55 million by the fourth quarter, enough to vaccinate 100 percent of the country’s adult population.
He said any possible future surge in infections, like those happening abroad due to the more contagious Delta variant, will be contained by localized lockdowns.
Dominguez said the Philippines was expected to return to pre-pandemic economic output and growth by late 2022 or early 2023, noting that the recent peso depreciation, where the domestic currency crossed the 50:$1 mark, was also a sign of economic recovery.
“The recent drop in the value of the peso is to be expected as our economy opens and there is more demand for dollars as we import more,” Dominguez said.
“That is a natural reaction, and we think that the market is reacting properly to the signals that are going on, and the signal essentially is that there is recovery along the way, and it’s reflected in the increase in demand of dollars for imports,” he said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, for his part, explained that the government has allocated PHP2.5 trillion this year as part of the government’s three-pronged approach for economic recovery.
Chua said the total budget for economic recovery this year is equivalent to 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“In fact, the 2021 budget was designed to achieve our economic recovery alongside other complementary measures,” he said.
Chua, who is also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general, said about PHP2 trillion, or 11.3 percent of GDP, will come from the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
On top of this, the government also implements PHP478 billion worth of fiscal measures this year that include the following:
— P317 billion from the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2);
— P23-billion Social Amelioration Program 2 for the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the NCR Plus; and
— P138 billion tax breaks to all enterprises under the CREATE law.