The Philippines is recovering slower than its neighbors in Asean and its return to normal will not come until 2022 and not this year as earlier expected.
This is the consensus of business leaders who attribute the slow recovery to prolonged restrictions and too much reliance on lockdowns.
Sergio Ortiz-Luis, director at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said the group had initially expected improvement would start this year but “ now we are looking at 2022… (when) we can be near to what we think is normal.”
Henry Lim, president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCI), said the economy is having a hard time recovering due to the prolonged lockdowns but it should recover and go back to normal by 2022.
Lim said with the country’s fiscal and political systems stable, sustained key programs like Build, Build, Build and Plant, Plant, Plant as well as the arrival of vaccines “we expect towards the third and fourth quarters, the economy can recover. “
“Hopefully this year, people can get vaccinated and we can attain herd immunity. We hope the elections next year will be smooth and transparent to move the country ahead with a new leader,” Lim added.
Ortiz-Luis said recovery can be hastened if the government reviews its protocols, adding balancing health with economy ca be achieved “if we listen more to the economy managers than to the medical and military.”
“We could do much better near the performance of (the Phillippines’ neighbors) to catch up on recovery with a little less reliance on lockdowns,” he said.
He lamented the fact that while government is opening up sectors, it is making it hard for workers to go back to work due to limited transportation.
“We should pause and see what we have been doing right and what we have doing wrong.
We should listen to the economic managers who are going out of their limb… and then there are unnecessary protocols that prohibit the economy to prosper. We are going out of the cycle… we are continuously improving but (it’s) too slow,” Ortiz-Luis added.