May 4, 2021

The government’s roadmap to economic recovery entails effectively managing COVID-19 risks to empower individuals and firms to thrive in the new normal, said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“Managing the current risks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic shocks will be crucial in continuously improving labor market conditions,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua during the Task Group on Economic Recovery – National Employment Recovery Strategy Job Summit held on Labor Day, May 1, 2021.

Based on the results of the World Bank’s Impact of COVID-19 to Firms and Households surveys, the country’s labor market situation needs further improvement. For instance, only around half of workers feel that their workplaces are safe, while around a third of firms have experienced some form of closure during the pandemic.

Chua advocated for a three-pronged strategy to accelerate job creation this year. First, safely reopening the economy, while strictly adhering to public health protocols and intensifying prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and recover (PDITR) strategies. Second, fully implementing the recovery package, especially those whose budgets have already been allocated but not yet fully spent. Third, ensuring timely implementation of the vaccine program to cover the entire adult population.

“All of us in government, the private sector, and the whole country need to rally behind the goal of safely reopening the economy. We will use transparent and credible data support to make all these important decisions,” he said.

The recovery package amounts to PhP 2.76 trillion or 15.4 percent of GDP. This includes a combination of emergency support for vulnerable groups, other fiscal measures such as tax subsidies and exemptions, the biggest of which is from the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) act, and monetary actions to help keep the economy afloat. All of these complement the 2021 budget.

“The 2021 budget was designed to achieve our economic recovery, alongside all the other complimentary measures, such as Bayanihan 2, and the recently enacted CREATE and SAP,” he affirmed.