MANILA – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno is confident the Philippine economy will post better figures in the second half of the year after posting a pandemic-induced recession in the first half.
The government reported a 16.5-percent economic contraction in the second quarter, deeper than the revised -0.7 percent in the previous three months and the lowest since 1981.
In a text message to journalists Thursday, Diokno said the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) is currently assessing economic data as of end-June and its impact for the rest of the year.
“I believe the worst is behind us. But we’re not out of the woods yet. The Q2 GDP (second-quarter gross domestic product) numbers were largely due to the comprehensive lockdown during the quarter. As we gradually reopen the economy, economic activity has started to pick up,” he said.
Malacanang placed the whole of Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 17 until end-April to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
This limited economic activities in the country’s largest island group, which contributes about 70 percent in the annual domestic output.
Local governments in the Visayas and Mindanao also implemented community quarantines in their respective areas.
Movement restrictions have been eased since then to allow the resumption of economic activities.
Diokno said since economic activities have gradually resumed, “I’m convinced that Q3 will be better than Q2, and that Q4 will be much better than Q3.”
“I think we know more about the virus now than before and policy makers know more about the appropriate response to the pandemic. We know from our experience and the experiences of other jurisdictions of what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.
Diokno added part of the gains against the current crisis may be attributed to leadership, clear messaging, and human behavior.
“Each individual has a role to play in winning the war against the virus” and because “the virus won’t go away soon, so we have to learn to live with it,” he said.
Diokno said “the days of comprehensive, nationwide lockdown are over” as “they exact a heavy damage to the economy, jobs, livelihoods, and incomes.”
He said national leaders should focus on more localized village level or building level containment.
“Isolation facilities should be built in all major cities and large municipalities, in support of the government’s test, trace and treat strategy,” he added. (PNA)