Philippine economic slump ‘much worse’ than expected: Palace
By Prince Golez
Malacañang has expressed concern over the “steep” drop in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) due to the community quarantine imposed by the government in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The 16.5 percent decline in the country’s GDP is “much worse” than what the government had expected, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement Thursday.
However, Roque stressed that the Philippines is not the only nation facing severe economic impacts from the Covid-19 crisis.
The economies of Singapore, Indonesia, the United States, France, Spain, and Mexico also suffered a devastating blow, he said.
“The Palace is aware of the hardships and the sufferings of our people. We thus provided an emergency subsidy program, which is considered the largest single relief program in the country’s history, when we took the painful choice of imposing the strictest quarantine measure on our people,” according to him.
Meanwhile, Roque said the government’s resolve to recover at the soonest possible remains “strong,” citing the administration’s Philippine Program for Recovery with Equity and Solidarity, which intends to fight the pandemic’s effects on business and livelihood.
“We have likewise recalibrated our budget for next year and restarted our Build, Build, Build programs, subject to health and safety protocols, to create jobs,” he said.
Citing the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Palace official said the main contributors to the economy’s drop were the decline in manufacturing, construction, and transportation and storage – all of which were greatly affected by the strict lockdown.
“We expect an improvement in the performance of these sectors during the second semester of the year, with our gradual reopening of the economy, as well as our proposed stimulus measures,” said Roque.
He also reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to Congress to fast track the passage of the Bayanihan to Recover As One to “boost our second-semester offensive against Covid-19” as well as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Act to help businesses pave the road to recovery.
“We assure everyone that the government will continue working round the clock to strengthen our resilience and bring us back to the path of inclusive growth.”