PH needs to address pandemic first to 'safely' reopen economy: NEDA

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2020 10:38 AM

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MANILA - The Philippines needs to address the COVID-19 pandemic before the economy can reopen safely, the National Economic and Development Authority said Tuesday as the country plunged into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years.

NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said government was prioritizing the improvement of the country's health system, food security, learning continuity, digital infrastructure, and ecological integrity.

"Papunta doon muna ang priority natin kasi ang tingin namin ayusin natin tong pandemic, halimbawa pag na-manage natin ito then we can safely reopen the economy," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(Our priority is towards the health sector because we think if we can resolve or manage the pandemic, then we can safely reopen the economy.

"This is a health crisis and therefore you need to address the health problem. Kung ma-address mo itong (If you can address the) health crisis the economy will follow."

Adult Filipinos may find jobs primarily in the health sector, while many firms have repurposed their production to contribute in the country's fight against the pandemic, Edillon said.

"There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy, kaya lang talaga tayo nagcontract dahil pinasara natin ang mga negosyo at ito ay para ma-address natin ang COVID-19 pandemic," she said.

(There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy, it contracted because we closed businesses to address the COVID-19 pandemic.)

"Talaga namang dumami ang nawalan ng trabaho pero dahil nga po nag-i-ease na tayo ng restrictions, we are hoping na yung susunod na lalabas na datos is an improved situation than what we have in April," she added, referring to the period most of the country went on strict lockdown.

(The number of Filipinos without jobs increased but as we ease restrictions we are hoping the next data will show an improved situation than what we have in April.)

The Philippines as of Monday reported 194,252 cases of COVID-19, with 132,042 recoveries and 3,010 deaths.