MANILA - The Philippines is losing P2 billion a day due to COVID-19, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday, claiming the country's economy was doing well before the pandemic struck.
"Araw-araw, we are losing P2 billion na pera na para sana 'yun sa tao. The workers, the Filipino workers would have earned that money kung ang ekonomiya natin gumagalaw," he said in an aired public briefing.
(Every day, we are losing P2 billion worth of money which should've been for the people. The workers, the Filipino workers would have earned that money if our economy was running.)
"We are sinking deeper and deeper."
Duterte said the Philippine economy is in "bad shape" but he reasoned that the other countries are also suffering economically. The President assured his administration is doing its best "to keep us afloat."
Earlier in the day, the Philippines' economic planning chief said the country is losing P700 million in wages and other income each day that Metro Manila and other regions remain on general community quarantine.
Metro Manila, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and six other areas remain on general community quarantine for the whole of February to contain the spread of new coronavirus variants in the country.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Karl Chua however said keeping these areas under GCQ was the right move so health authorities will know more about the new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
He said the Philippine economy is off to a "slow start" in 2021, but economic managers are betting on a 6.5 to 7.5 percent GDP growth this year, looking towards a strong comeback from the 9.5-percent contraction for 2020— the country's worst performance since World War 2.
The Philippines imposed one of the world's longest lockdowns, spanning nearly 80 days, after the spread of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China escalated into a pandemic last March.
The country only attempted to resuscitate its economy in June 2020, easing restrictions and allowing limited resumption of work and public transportation.--With a report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News