Think tank blasts Duterte handling of pandemic, economy

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2022 08:49 PM

MANILA - Two days before the release of the official GDP figures, local think Tank IBON Foundation again criticized the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte over its handling of the pandemic, which led to the country’s worst economic downturn since World War 2. 

IBON Foundation Executive Director, Economist Sonny Africa said the economy suffered under the strict lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

“What could have been done better? Sana ginaya na lang ang mga karatig nating bansa. We would not be in the situation right now,” Africa said. 

He noted that other nations like China or Singapore invested in strengthening border control, testing and contact tracing, and quarantine and care. 

IBON also criticized the Duterte administration’s pandemic spending.

“Kasi tinipid tayo ng Duterte administration. Sabi nila, hindi mas matipid mag-lockdown. Nag-lockdown na lang siya without doing yung spending on the necessary infrastructure for testing, tracing, quarantine for supporting yung mga in-isolate at pinapagaling.”

(The Duterte administration did not spend enough. They said it’s cheaper to lock down. But they locked down without spending on the necessary infrastructure for testing, tracing, quarantine, or supporting those who are isolating or recovering.)

Africa presented several data points wherein the Philippines is performing worse than its ASEAN peers including inflation, unemployment, and economic contraction. 

The think tank also warned against a possible win by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Halalan 2022. 

“If successful, a Marcos presidency is going to be the biggest step backwards for the Philippines if it succeeds. It represents all the most retrograde aspects of Filipino politics,” he said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority is set to release official GDP figures on Jan. 27, Thursday.