MANILA - The Philippine economy could start growing again in the second quarter of 2021 due to the mass vaccination program and a reduction in COVID-19 cases, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.
If overseas manufacturers could deliver the committed volume of doses, the government would have enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate not only 70 million adults but also about 15 million teenagers once the vaccine for them is approved, Dominguez said during a business forum held Thursday.
"There is good news on the horizon, however. In the second quarter of this year, we expect to begin growing our economy again. We see that the second wave of infections that started at the end of March has subsided dramatically. We hope that this will be the last surge," Dominguez said.
“We are also in the process of negotiating for the booster shots next year. The COVID-19 pandemic should soon be contained,” he added.
The Philippines has so far administered some 4,495,375 doses as of May 20, 2021.
COVID-19 cases surged earlier this year which prompted authorities to place the NCR Plus area under another lockdown.
Metro Manila and nearby Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces are now under general community quarantine "with heightened restrictions" until May 31.
The country's gross domestic product dropped 4.2 percent in the first quarter, the fifth straight month of contraction. This was the first time the Philippine economy contracted for 5 consecutive quarters since the debt crisis of the 1980s. The recession then, during the Marcos administration, lasted 9 quarters.