MANILA — Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan on Friday said reopening schools for face-to-face classes would spur economic growth by boosting small and medium enterprises and the service sector.
“Malaki ‘yan, from transport to food, lalo na yung MSMEs, malaki ‘yan. As I said earlier, the service-providers are the driver [of the economy] at least for the near-term ano,” Balisacan said at an economic briefing of the Management Association of the Philippines.
(That will be huge, from transport to food, especially the MSMEs, that's huge.)
“If we look at the demand side, 70 percent of the income is really consumption, and of course, driven by remittances and low interest rates. Also on the supply side, a lot of things also: services, 60 percent of the GDP is really services, so you’d have consumption and services as really part of the domestic,” he added.
Academic Year 2022-2023 starts on Monday, with schools allowed to implement distance or blended learning until Oct. 31. By November, all schools are required to shift to in-person classes.
Balisacan said the expansion of the services sector has yet to recover to its pre-pandemic level.
“As we open the economy, we must continue that push and then we will have a more robust activity in the economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the foreign exchange has diversified from remittances to include income from the BPO industry, borrowings, and investments, Balisacan said.
“BPOs and remittances are quite robust. Look at how BPOs are during the pandemic, they saved the economy in a way,” he said.
Balisacan said despite challenges, the country was able to grow its GDP at an average of 6.3 percent.
“Looking at the past decade, the growth was hardly sensitive to what was happening outside, the correlation was very low, meaning the growth was coming from the inside,” he said.