by MARIE CLAIRE “BLANCHE” S. LAGRISOLA
THE GOVERNMENT should have its citizens vaccinated to achieve the projected positive change in the economy, Faculty of Arts and Letters Economics Department Chair Carlos Manapat said on Monday in a webinar, UST Economic Outlook 2021: The Cost of our Choices.
Manapat predicted a gross domestic product growth rate of 1.2 percent by the second quarter of 2022, but without the vaccination programs that will provide immunity to the citizens, he said that the economy cannot open abruptly.
“The first step is to give the vaccines and later on open the economy,” Manapat said.
The country started distributing vaccines on Monday with the arrival of 600,000 donated doses from China’s Sinovac, while more than 500,000 vaccine doses from AstraZeneca were delayed due to the limited global supply.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health said that they continue to increase the vaccine confidence among the citizens to succeed in the COVID-19 vaccine deployment.
Manapat also urged the government to provide job opportunities as there are around 3.8 million unemployed Filipinos according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and prioritize those affected by the pandemic.
“The government should be sensitive about it because we cannot let these people be unemployed for a very long time because we do not know the long-term effects of being unemployed to these people and their families,” he said.
“We are not sure [of] the impact of these [groups] of people to the economy as a whole,” Manapat added.
Aligning the quarantine measures with the ongoing vaccination and making the investment climate attractive will jumpstart the economy, Manapat said.
Chief economist of Union Bank Ruben Carlo Asuncion and President of the Federation of Philippine Industries, Inc. Alberto David Lina were the other two resource speakers of the event.
The event hosted by UST Artlets Economic Society aimed to look back on the past year and tackle the prospects for the economy in the current year. F