MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday welcomed report that the Philippines can cushion the economic consequences brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The Philippines is seen able to handle the Covid-19 economic shocks. Ito ay dahil sa ating (This is because of our pre-pandemic economic growth and public debt levels),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
Roque was referring to the Washington-based Institute of International Finance’s (IIF) September 1 report titled, “Emerging Market Vulnerability and Contagion.”
The IIF report said the Philippines’ pre-pandemic economic growth and public debt levels would allow the country to better handle Covid-19-related economic shocks.
Quoting IIF deputy chief economist Sergi Lanau, Roque said: “The positive assessment on the Philippines reflects two things. First, the country did not suffer from a persistent low-growth problem before Covid-19 started. This is an important advantage relative to countries that entered the global shock in a weak position.”
“Second, in relative terms, the Philippines can afford more public spending to fight the pandemic than other emerging markets, this is because public debt isn’t too high and because the debt path has been favorable – debt hasn’t increased fast in recent years,” Roque added.
Apart from the IIF report, Roque said the Palace also welcomed the Philippines’ latest ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII).
The Philippines now ranks 50, up four notches from its 54th rank last year.
“Isa pa pong magandang balita ‘no, patuloy na gumaganda ang ranking ng Pilipinas sa Global Innovation Index (The Philippines having an improved ranking in the Global Innovation Index is a good news), Roque said. “The ranking helps place innovation firmly on the policy map of economies.”
The GII ranks 131 world economies based on their creative outputs, institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, and knowledge and technology output.
To ensure the speedy recovery of the country’s economy, Roque reiterated his appeal to Filipinos to heed the government’s call to observe minimum health standards amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Roque said the public should continue washing their hands, wearing face mask and face shield, and observing physical distancing.
“Siyempre po iyan po ay mabuting balita na habang nagbubukas po ang ekonomiya, mas marami siyempre ang nakakapagtatrabaho na. Kaya nga po ang aking pakiusap sa ating mga Pilipino, sumunod po tayo sa minimum health standards (It’s a good news that many are getting employed following the reopening of the economy. So my appeal to Filipinos, please follow minimum health standards),” he said.
According to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority, unemployment in the country eased to 10 percent in July. This is lower than the 17.7 percent recorded in April.
The total number of jobless Filipinos in July is at 4.6 million, lower than the 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos registered in April. (PNA)