Palace says to 'disprove' that Philippines will lag in COVID-19 recovery

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2021 05:01 PM

Palace says to 'disprove' that Philippines will lag in COVID-19 recovery 1
People wearing facemasks shop at a tiangge in Taytay, Rizal on December 2, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Malacañang said on Thursday it would "disprove" a debt watcher's forecast that the Philippines would be among the last in Asia-Pacific to recover from the economic recession that the COVID-19 pandemic caused.

While much of the region "will have regained all of its lost output by the end of 2021," the Philippines and India "will struggle to reach this benchmark by the end of 2022," the research unit of Moody's Investors Service said in a report released on Thursday.

The 2 countries are the least committed to fiscal stimulus despite having the longest lockdowns and the hardest-hit economies by the pandemic, Asia-Pacific chief economist of Moody's Analytics Steve Cochrane said, as quoted by media reports.

The Philippines did not want to take too many loans because its credit rating will go down and authorities are not sure how much longer the pandemic will rage, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

"'Wag kayong mag-alala kung talagang kailangan umutang, uutang pa tayo para gastusin. Ito po ang tinatawag nilang fiscal policies," he told reporters in an online briefing.

(Don't worry, if we need to get more loans, we will so we can spend it. That's what they call fiscal policies.)

"We will disprove that forecast wrong," he added.

The national government's total outstanding debt reached P10.03 trillion at the end of October, the Bureau of Treasury said.

The Philippine economy shrunk 11.5 percent in the third quarter of last year, and is seen to cap the year with up to a 9.5 percent contraction due to slower economic activity from the COVID-19 related community quarantines.