To say that getting the economy back on track is a herculean task is an understatement. With -9% GDP in the first half of 2020, we will need to recognize that the impact on the economy is global, with millions of lost livelihoods and businesses.
Many of us reading this know that as many countries tried to reopen their economies after initially "flattening the curve" experienced second waves. Japan, even much talked about Australia, Europe and VIetnam had to reimpose recent lockdowns to address these new spikes, erasing many economic gains of the economic reopening.
As a result of the above reality, many of us also have accepted that as opposed to our original expectations, this will not be a temporary disruption resolving itself within the year. Recovery will be longer term, a careful balancing act to protect liveds while ensuring growth- which will require cooperation from all sectors.
We trust that the Philippine economic team will move judiciously and deliberately to push the gradual, yet more importantly, steady recovery over a term longer than initially expected. Note that we are not simply recovering from an event that happened in the past, like a major calamity. This will be a continuing struggle, doing so while engaging a new normal, transforming many sectors and businesses to make them resilient against future disruptions.
Herculean? You bet.
The good news is that we can take advantage of investment grade credit ratings, manageable debt to GDP ratio and record high foreign reserves, elements achieved by government before the pandemic hit due to prudent policies that enabled us to achieve these.
In addition, current terrain includes advantages such as low inflation rates and a stronger peso dollar position- things we can capitalize on as new economic measures under the NEDA's "recharge plan".
To its credit, as opposed to previous administrations, the current economic team has pursued novel methods such as engaging public consultations through its Sulong Pilipinas conferences and engaging online surveys- measures that previous governments did not engage as much as we hoped.
Such consultative processes are crucial for generating broad based support for socio-economic measures and partnerships that will need to be engaged as we engage the critical implementation phase of the recharge plan as we move forward in continuing economic recovery.
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