News Release

President Duterte: Gov’t working to weather pandemic impact

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on February 1, 2021. RICHARD MADELO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The government is doing its best to weather the crippling effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Monday, noting mass inoculation could reverse the present situation.

In his weekly public address on government response to the pandemic, President Duterte tackled the economy particularly after the government released the nation’s recent gross domestic product (GDP) figures.

The country is losing billions in lost productivity as a result of the raging pandemic as the government carries out restrictions to contain the further spread of the virus, the President said.

The country’s economy used to perform well prior to the pandemic, he noted.

“According to the Secretary of Finance, araw-araw ngayon hanggang matapos itong COVID, araw-araw we are losing two billion na pera para sana ‘yon sa mga tao ‘yung the workers, the Filipino workers, would have earned that money kung ang ekonomiya natin gumagalaw. Eh kaya nga hindi eh,” he said.

“So, we are sinking deeper and deeper pero hindi lang rin tayo. Kung hindi tayo, lahat. Pero we are trying our very best to keep us afloat,” he added.

The Philippines is not alone, he said, stressing all economies in the world are bearing the brunt of the pandemic.

“Alam mo lahat ng bayan ngayon ng buong mundo bagsak, talagang bagsak,” he said.

President Duterte encouraged the people to hope for the best. The country’s best chance is through mass immunization, which according to the President, is encountering a problem now as nations compete for vaccine supply. Manufacturers also grapple with huge demand.

The country’s economy suffered a record annual contraction in 2020, after the GDP shrank in the fourth quarter, according to the preliminary figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

PSA data showed that the country’s GDP contracted by 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter, in contrast with the 6.7 percent growth it posted in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The Philippines’s full year GDP plunged 9.5 percent, which the PSA said, was the country’s steepest economic contraction in history. The PSA has been collecting annual data since 1947. PND