Economic losses under Level 3 temporary

Placing the National Capital Region Plus back on Alert Level 3 due rising coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases is seen to result in a weekly gross value added (GVA) loss of around PHP3 billion, economic managers said.

The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), in a statement issued on Friday, however, believes that “this is a temporary setback and is a necessary adjustment in view of the new Covid variant.”

“As we previously said, we are in a better position to manage possible spikes. We have enough vaccines and funding for booster shots; we have increased hospital capacity; we now resort to granular lockdowns; and, from all indications, the Omicron variant results in less severe cases, especially to those who are fully vaccinated,” the statement said.

GVA is the value of output less the value of intermediate consumption. It is a measure of the contribution to Gross Domestic Product by an individual producer, industry, or sector.

The NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna are under Alert Level until January 15.

Also under the same classification are Baguio City, City of Santiago in Isabela, Dagupan City in Pangasinan, Angeles City in Pampanga, Naga City in Camarines Sur, and Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.

On Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported the further rise of daily Covid-19 cases to 21,819 from 17,220 the day before.

DBCC said it is “closely monitoring the impact of the elevated number of Covid-19 cases” in the NCR and its neighboring provinces.

The statement also said the signing of the 2022 national budget, which it said is “the country’s main fiscal stimulus” given the volume of budgetary support for Covid response and the economic recovery, is expected to accelerate government spending and help the economy bounce back.

“The FY (fiscal year) 2022 GAA (General Appropriations Act) will prioritize programs, activities, and projects that seek to sustain the administration’s efforts to effectively respond to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Alongside this, the extended validity of the FY 2021 GAA will serve as an added fiscal stimulus that will support NGAs (national government agencies) and LGUs (local government un its) in continuing to accelerate the implementation of Covid-19 recovery measures,” it said.

The statement explained that this year’s national budget and the extension of last year’s national funding program “will help strengthen the country’s resilience against the emergence of new variants and future economic shocks.”

“The economic prospects for 2022 remain promising, but we urge everyone to play their part in the recovery by getting vaccinated, availing of booster shots, and strictly adhering to the minimum public health standards to help support the gradual and safe reopening of the economy,” it added.

The DBCC, created in 1970, is tasked primarily to review and approve the macroeconomic targets, revenue projections, borrowing level, aggregate budget level, and expenditure priorities and recommend to the Cabinet and the President the consolidated public sector financial position and the national government fiscal program.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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