It has now been ten months since the COVID-19 began surging around the world after it was first reported in China. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11 when the disease spread to over 100 countries.
After causing so many deaths in Europe, notably in Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, and France, it jumped to the Western Hemisphere, where it spread quickly in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries in South America. China and most of the rest of Asia are now beginning to recover, but the US and Europe are now undergoing a second wave of infections.
The pandemic sent national economies plunging. But as the months passed, they also began planning for economic recovery. They were hoping the process of recovery could start this year, but with so many nations now undergoing a second wave of infections, and an anti-COVID vaccine only now being mass-produced, recovery for most nations will have to begin in 2021.
The Philippines, it is good to note, hopes to begin its recovery program this year. Last weekend, Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez reported that while the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continued to shrink, it is now doing so at a slower pace.
In the second quarter of this year – April-May-June — the country’s GDP contracted 16.9 percent, sending the country into recession. But in the third quarter — July, August, September – the economic contraction was much lower at 11.5 percent.
“This indicates that the Philippine economy is on the mend. This is a strong signal that the worst seems over for the country,” Secretary Dominguez said. Further improvement is expected in the fourth quarter — October, November, December.
The Philippines has thus started to recover, the secretary said. It is now drawing up plans for manufacturing as a major sector. It is also planning modernization of agriculture and will invite American investments in this program. “We are introducing additional reforms that will help us consolidate a pro-business environment,” he said.
The Philippines has suffered in this pandemic like the rest of the world but it appears to be ahead of many other countries in its recovery. It has the remaining packages of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law. It has the continuing “Build, Build, Build” nationwide infrastructure program. And the National Appropriation Bill is on target for approval this December and thus its immediate implementation on the very first day of 2021.