By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Senate Minority Floor Leader Frankiln Drilon warned that the Duterte government should brace the impact of an impending economic recession after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) failed to address the worsening health crisis brought by the global coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), Drilon advised the country’s economic managers that next six months “would be crucial in setting up the stage for economic recovery.”
Drilon stressed that strategies implemented by IATF to avert an impending recession have failed, citing the pandemic’s multiple impacts including surging unemployment and involuntary hunger that hit 5.2 million Filipino families.
“The IATF has failed. Let’s call a spade a spade. Look at where we are today: 70,764 Filipinos were affected as of yesterday, deaths running to 1,837, 5 million of our people unemployed, 40 percent of our MSMEs closed, and, the worst, 5.2 million Filipino families suffered hunger in the past three months,” said Drilon.
The Senate official cited the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey, wherein 20.9 percent or an estimated 5.2 million of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months—the highest hunger rate since September 2014.
Drilon stressed that it does not help that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III “lacks the credibility to be able to command people to do things.”
“He cannot influence decisions,” said Drilon.
Meanwhile, Drilon said the Philippine economy is facing a recession due to the expected contractions of the economy for the first two quarters.
The Philippine economy contracted by 0.2% during the first quarter and the forecast for the second quarter is even worse, he noted.
The economists define recession as involving economic contractions for two succeeding quarters.
“This means that the next six months will be a question of how to survive. They say that to survive in today’s situation is already a success. We must be able to survive so that we can set the stage for economic recovery,” said Drilon.