MANILA -- The Philippines is looking for ways to restore the public's confidence in the economy, once it restarts under a "new normal" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's deputy social economic planning chief said Tuesday.
Under lockdown for a month and with 17 more days to go, some 60 percent of consumers polled by the National Economic and Development Authority said they would not buy durable goods in the next 12 months. They are also foregoing travel, said NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon.
"We need to address the uncertainty. We need to build confidence in health systems capacity," said Edillon, in charge of policy and planning at NEDA.
The NEDA is targeting growth of -1 to 0 for the second quarter. The first 3 months of year was a "good quarter" notwithstanding the start of the lockdown on March 17, she told ANC.
Some 77 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises maintained their workforce during the quarantine period, taking out loans to sustain payrolls. This resulted in delayed payments for suppliers, she said.
"You have the undesirable domino effect. You need to arrest that," she said.
The NEDA is preparing for a "new normal" where physical or social distancing and face masks will be the norm.
"We have to define what is the new normal and how can we best adapt what are the policies to help the economy adjust," she said.