PH faces 'life vs livelihood' dilemma in COVID-19 fight, economy 'collateral damage': DOF


Posted at Aug 07 2020 04:17 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2020 05:52 PM

Tents are set up to accommodate probable or suspected COVID-19 patients outside the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, Manila, August 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The country's COVID-19 fight has brought collateral damage on the economy, the Department of Finance said Friday, as the country plunged into recession in the second quarter.

The second quarter gross domestic product declined 16.5 percent from a contraction of 0.7 in the first quarter.

Consumption, industry and services posted declines for the period while transportation, hotels and restaurants were the worst-hit, the DOF said.

This as COVID-19 precautions forced businesses to shut during a lengthy lockdown earlier this year, with a stricter quarantine again enforced in Metro Manila and nearby provinces as cases surged.

"The ongoing COVID-19 [crisis]... inevitably made the economy a collateral damage. Such response was, nevertheless, a hedge against further complications," the statement said.

Recovery rests on the country's capacity to manage health risks, it said.

"Such capacity could tilt the odds in what is apparently a life-versus-livelihood dilemma and make it more of a life-and-livelihood dual outcome, but probably at a lesser scale than before under a “new normal” should there still be uncertainties about and risks posed by the virus," the DOF said.

Quarantines can be changed accordingly to restore growth while managing health risks, it said.

At least 50 percent of the economy remain open under MECQ, down from 75 percent under the less strict general community quarantine, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua earlier said.

The DOF vowed to maintain stability during the COVID-19 pandemic and to help boost economic recovery.

Chua on Friday urged the public to give the additional 2-week restrictions a chance, to achieve a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihood.

The government on Thursday lowered its economic forecast for the year to a contraction of up to 5.5 percent from its earlier estimate of a 3.4 percent drop.