If the COVID-19 vaccination program goes as planned, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Filipinos can expect the economy to rebound by the 4th quarter of 2021.
Concepcion said in a statement on Thursday, March 4, that the arrival of vaccines signals the start of economic recovery. Vaccine laggard Philippines started its immunization program against COVID-19 on Monday, March 1.
Concepcion noted that following the vaccination schedule during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2021 is critical.
“With [more] vaccines to start coming in by May onwards, especially in the 3rd quarter, that will bring in a lot of confidence. Remember, 2022 is an election year, that is the biggest stimulus when people start to spend [ahead of the] election,” he said.
Sinovac’s CoronaVac, the first vaccine delivered to the Philippines, arrived last Sunday, February 28. China donated 600,000 doses.
Nearly 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the global COVAX Facility also arrived on Thursday evening.
The initial delivery of 2.6 million AstraZeneca doses procured by the private sector, half of which would be donated to the government, will arrive during the 2nd quarter. The remaining 14 million doses will be in the Philippines by the 3rd quarter.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s adviser said that the entire country must be placed under the loosest quarantine restriction as vaccination progresses, which he said, in effect, could help boost domestic tourism.
Following this timeline, Concepcion said consumer confidence is likely to have already gone up by Christmas season.
“This is the last and only chance for our micro and small entrepreneurs to come back strong and utilize the 4th quarter as the start of their bounce back,” he added.
In 2020, the Philippine economy suffered its worst post-war contraction as gross domestic product fell by 9.5%. Micro, small, and medium enterprises, which generate 62.4% of total employment, are among the hardest hit during the pandemic.
In an effort to revive domestic travel, the national government’s coronavirus task force recently lifted travel requirements such as a negative swab test, mandatory quarantine, and health certificates. Local governments, however, have varying protocols on domestic travel.
While Concepcion is pushing for an eventual shift to the loosest quarantine restrictions, he said schools should continue to operate remotely to keep children safe. – Rappler.com
Jan Cuyco is a Rappler intern. She is a journalism student from the University of the Philippines Diliman.