The Philippine economy is projected to return to pre-pandemic levels by end of 2022, possibly the slowest to bounce back within the region as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Moody’s Analytics.
Economists Katrina Ell and Dave Chia of Moody’s Analytics, a US-based economic research company, said in a commentary titled “The Philippines struggles to shake the pandemic,” that the country is grappling with the resurge of new COVID-19 infections, prompting government to reimpose strict lockdown protocols from March 29 to May 14.
Meanwhile, “China, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam have returned to previous output levels, while Indonesia and Thailand are on track to return this year. This makes the Philippines the clear laggard in Asia,” Ell and Chia said.
Total COVID-19 cases in the country recently reached more than 1.1 million with nearly 20,000 deaths despite the National Capital Region and adjacent provinces (NCR Plus) being placed under enhanced community quarantine from March 29 to April 11, and under modified enhanced community quarantine from April 12 to May 14.
Moody’s Analytics said contributing to the country’s inability to control local infections in the earlier months was the healthcare system being centralized, wherein city and town leaders are responsible for the health system rather than the central government.
“As a result, there were no consistent policies and rigorousness around contact tracing, funding, and quarantine measures for those infected and their close contacts,” it said.
The research arm of the Moody’s Group added that the country is vulnerable to local infection spikes, inhibiting the economic recovery as only 2.7% of the 108 million population have so far received one dose of vaccine while a meager 0.8% is fully vaccinated.
“The Philippines lags most of its neighbors in its local vaccination drive. There have been issues around securing sufficient vaccination doses, though the problem has eased somewhat with the government recently increasing the number of vaccinations sites,” Moody’s Analytics said.
Moody’s Analytics expects the Philippine economy growing by 5.3% this year after a record 9.6% contraction last year.