by Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go remains optimistic with the country’s economic resilience as the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product grew by 7.1% percent in the third quarter of 2021.
“Malaki ang inilago ng ating ekonomiya sa third quarter ng 2021, kabaliktaran sa parehong quarter po ng 2020. Bagamat mahirap pa rin ang buhay, unti-unti namang nakakabangon ang ating ekonomiya mula sa epekto ng COVID-19,” Go said.
“Ang importante lang ay tuluyan nang matigil ang pagkalat ng sakit para matutukan natin muli ang pagpapalago ng ating kabuhayan pati ang pagsugpo sa hirap at gutom,” he added.
He said that, as the war against COVID-19 continues, the fight against poverty and hunger must also be priorized in order to offer a better life for every Filipino, as promised by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Sa paglago ng ekonomiya, mas maraming trabaho ang ating maibibigay sa mga tao, mas maraming pagkain ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino, mas maraming kabataan makakapag-aral, mas giginhawa ulit ang buhay ng mga Pilipino,” said Go.
Go also lauded the economic managers in the Duterte Administration who have worked tirelessly to safeguard the economy despite recent COVID-19 restrictions.
In the third quarter, the country’s GDP grew by 7.1%, more than the 4% predicted by analysts. The rate is also within the upper range of the government’s target for this year.
Nevertheless, Go warned Filipinos not to be complacent as the threat of COVID-19 continues to spread and evolve especially with the emergence of a more contagious Delta variant.
“Bagama’t magandang indication ito, huwag muna tayo magkumpyansa dahil mahaba pa ang laban at delikado pa rin ang panahon. Patuloy po tayong sumunod sa mga patakaran at doblehin natin ang pag-iingat,” Go stated.
“Ang kooperasyon at disiplina ng bawat Pilipino ay makapagsasalba ng buhay ng ating kapwa. Kung patuloy ang ating bayanihan at pagmamalasakit sa isa’t isa, mas mabilis nating malalampasan ang krisis upang tuluyan na tayong makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay,” he explained.
In the past year, the senator has made a number of appeals to the government to guarantee that the economy is sustained despite the adverse effects of the pandemic. For instance, Go appealed last May for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to be fast-tracked for economic frontliners. He also backed the “Focus and Expand Center of Gravity” vaccination approach which focuses efforts in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, and Batangas as well as Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.
These are economic hubs that account for 72% of the country’s GDP. Incidentally, they are also at the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission.
However, he also urged authorities to make sure that vaccines reach far-flung communities so that they will also be protected and not left behind.
Go explained that once population protection is achieved through vaccination, and communities eventually reach herd immunity, more economic sectors can open and move toward achieving full recovery.
“Kapag marami nang bakunado sa ating komunidad at patuloy na bababa ang bilang ng mga may sakit, maaari na pong luwagan ang mga restrictions at makapagbubukas na muli ang ibang mga industriya. Dadami na ulit ang trabaho at lalago na muli ang kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. Iyan po ang gusto nating marating ngayong taon,” he explained.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go had also earlier appealed for emergency financial assistance for low-income individuals, such as Social Amelioration Programs and Small Business Wage Subsidies.
He also recently successfully requested the government to provide financial aid to areas that reverted to strict enhanced community quarantine measures early this year.
Previously, Go also lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing Executive Order No. 140, which officially adopted the National Employment Recovery Strategy as the Philippine government’s master plan for the restoration of the country’s labor market.
“Umaapela ako sa lahat na magtiwala at suportahan ang mga hakbang na ginagawa ng inyong gobyerno dahil para sa kapakanan niyo rin ang mga ito. Konting tiis lang po. Ginagawa namin ni Pangulong Duterte ang lahat upang malampasan ang krisis na ito at mabigyan kayo ng mas maginhawang buhay,” he assured. (mtvn)