QUEZON CITY, Aug. 7 (PIA) -- As the country's economy suffers a sharp decline in the second quarter of 2020, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Chief Karl Kendrick T. Chua assured the public that the government's economic team will work hard to proactively help steer the country's recovery and restore its growth potential.
In his statement, Chua is optimistic that although the Philippine economy, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) yesterday, contracted by 16.5% in the second quarter due to 75% economic activity shutdown as a result of community quarantine, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) is gradually recovering.
"Household consumption and private sector investment, which drove growth in the past, have significantly declined given the closure of businesses and the loss of income during the ECQ," he said while further explaining government's efforts to ramp up spending to protect the 18 million low-income families and 3.1 million small-business workers through the social amelioration program.
"Some 655 billion pesos were allocated to support the people and the healthcare system under Pillar 1 and 2 of our COVID-19 response strategy, of which almost 400 billion pesos have been disbursed," he reported.
Chua also emphasized other catch-up measures such as the resumption of the Build, Build, Build projects; acceleration of the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund; and the reopening of domestic and foreign trade.
"Exports and imports are beginning to recover. Exports improved from -50 percent in April 2020 to -13 percent in June 2020 and averaged -30 percent in the second quarter... [while] imports also recovered gradually from a large contraction of -65 percent in April to a slower contraction of -25 percent in June, or an average decline of -44 percent in the second quarter," he said.
He believed that the Philippines is now in a much stronger position to address the crisis due to game-changing reforms implemented by the government.
"For instance, without tax reform and rice tariffication, the government would not have the resources to provide emergency subsidies to the people and worse, their diminished income would have been eaten by much higher rice prices," he cited in a statement.
The economic chief also mentioned that reverting to MECQ may have hurt the economy but it gives the government an opportunity to improve the healthcare system - the foundation of a strong economy.
"We are in a marathon rather than a sprint. As we learn that we cannot deliver a finishing blow to this pandemic or to the economic crisis until a vaccine is developed, we will need to ensure that our response addresses the present needs of our people without exhausting our resources for future needs," he said while providing assurance for necessary fiscal support.
Chua also urged the public to practice minimum health protocols, as their contribution to fight the unseen enemy.
"In our personal capacity, everything that we do or choose not to do will spell the difference between health and sickness, between life and death, and between economic recovery and decline. We all, therefore, need to cooperate by knowing and practicing health standards, such as physical distancing, properly wearing face masks and shields, frequent washing of hands with soap, and disinfecting," the Cabinet official said. (MTQ/PIA-IDPD)