January 7, 2022

The Development Budget Coordination Committee is closely monitoring the impact of the elevated number of COVID-19 cases, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its neighboring provinces.

We estimate that the shift from Alert level 2 to Alert level 3 for NCR plus, which includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, will result in a Gross Value Added (GVA) loss of about P3.0 billion per week. While this may delay our goal of shifting to Alert level 1, we believe that this is a temporary setback and is a necessary adjustment in view of the new COVID variant. As we previously said, we are in a better position to manage possible spikes — we have enough vaccines and funding for booster shots; we have increased hospital capacity; we now resort to granular lockdowns; and, from all indications, the Omicron variant results in less severe cases, especially to those who are fully vaccinated.

As of January 5, a total of 110.9 million doses have been rolled out. Of this, 57.3 million and 51.1 million doses were administered as the first dose and complete dose, respectively, while 2.5 million doses were administered as booster doses. Moreover, with the recent signing of the FY 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which is the country’s main fiscal stimulus, and was crafted with COVID response and recovery in mind, we expect to accelerate government spending and help the economy bounce back.

The FY 2022 GAA will prioritize programs, activities and projects that seek to sustain the administration’s efforts to effectively respond to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Alongside this, the extended validity of the FY 2021 GAA will serve as an added fiscal stimulus that will support NGAs and LGUs in continuing to accelerate the implementation of COVID-19 recovery measures.

The approved FY 2022 National Budget and the extension of the FY 2021 GAA will help strengthen the country’s resilience against the emergence of new variants and future economic shocks. The economic prospects for 2022 remain promising, but we urge everyone to play their part in the recovery by getting vaccinated, availing of booster shots, and strictly adhering to the minimum public health standards to help support the gradual and safe reopening of the economy.