Government expects speedy recovery of PH economy

Resuming the implementation of the national government’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure projects and easing the monetary policy would contribute to the faster recovery of the Philippine economy, Malacañang said on May 12, 2020.

In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque expressed optimism about the country’s economic recovery after the lifting of the community quarantine in some areas nationwide.

Roque made the statement after Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research, in its report released Monday, projected that the Philippine economy would fall into recession this year due to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

He said the Palace was not surprised by Fitch Solutions’ projection, as it already expects that the government’s implementation of quarantine protocols has hurt the country’s economy.

Roque, nevertheless, guaranteed that the government has already looked for ways to spur economic growth.

“Ang gobyerno naman po ay merong plano (The government has a plan),” he said. “Bababa po talaga ang ating ekonomiya pero tayo po ay tataas naman at inaasahan natin na mabilis ang ating pag-recover matapos po nitong mga quarantine (There will really be an economic slowdown but we expect our economy to recover fast after the quarantine).”

Fitch Solutions said it forecasts the Philippines’ full-year growth at -0.2 percent in 2020, lower than its May projection of 0.5 percent growth.

Roque said he expects a “V-shaped economic recovery” due to the strategies prepared by the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Finance.

A “V-shaped” economic recovery is characterized by a sharp decline in growth followed by a sharp recovery.

Roque said the “Build, Build, Build” program would help jumpstart the country’s economy.

“Unang-una po ay bubuksan natin ang ‘Build, Build, Build’ natin at ito po ay tinatawag na fiscal strategy, paggamit po ng national budget para po mag-create ng economic activities (We will resume the ‘Build, Build, Build’ operation. It is a fiscal strategy – using our national budget to create economic activities),” he said.

The national government is spending PHP1 trillion annually for the implementation of the “Build, Build, Build” program as it expects infrastructure projects to have a long-term economic effect.

Roque said the government would also relax the monetary policy to help the country’s economy recover faster.

“Binababa po natin ang interest rates. At saka yung mga liquidity requirements po ng mga bangko po ay ini-ease up po natin ang mga deposit requirement para mas marami po ang pera na umiikot sa ating ekonomiya (We lower the interest rates. We also ease up the banks’ liquidity, deposit requirements so more money would come in),” he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)