August 10, 2021
In a press briefing on Tuesday, National Statistician Dennis Mapa announced an 11.8% growth from April to June, reversing the 3.9% plunge logged in the first three months of 2021. The latest pace meets the expected double-digit growth by the economic team and analysts alike. A CNN Philippines poll among 14 economists yielded an average 10.03% growth projection for the quarter. Analysts have emphasized that the projected figure is base-driven, with the record 17% nosedive serving as an extremely low denominator for this quarter’s growth.
Moody’s Analytics forecasts an 0.6-percent expansion for the Philippine economy in the second quarter of 2021, an improvement from the -4.2 percent in the first quarter. The economic research subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation earlier said it expected a strong rebound for the domestic economy this year, with the full-year growth projected at 5.3 percent, with the phase of recovery largely dependent on pandemic-related developments and the government’s vaccine rollout.
From “moderate” risk for Covid-19 less than a week ago, the Department of Health (DOH) said the Philippines is now classified as “high risk” due to the high number of infections recorded. In an online media briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also said that over 200 medical facilities nationwide are at critical risk while in the National Capital Region (NCR), 25 health-care facilities are also under critical risk. Vergeire said the increase in cases was seen in the last week of July and exceeded the seven-day moving average.
DBM Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie L. Canda said President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the proposed spending plan before Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado went on medical leave, which runs from Aug. 2 to Aug. 13. She said the agency is currently finalizing the accompanying documentation before submitting it to Congress. DBM is required to submit the budget proposal 30 days after the President delivers the State of the Nation Address, which this year took place on July 26.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the value of production in local agriculture declined by 1.5 percent to P435.6 billion in the second quarter of the year. This was a reversal of the 0.5 percent growth recorded in the same period last year. The decline was largely due to the 19.3 percent reduction in livestock production, which accounted for 14.2 percent of the total agriculture production.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said people with health and family emergencies would be considered authorized persons outside residence (APOR), adding to the list of the PNP’s allowable residents outdoors such as workers and customers of businesses or industries allowed to operate during ECQ. Aside from these, Eleazar said persons who require emergency treatment will be allowed to cross borders if their condition cannot be treated within their locality due to unavailable medical facilities or services.
The PSA said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of economic output, shrank by 3.9 percent in the January to March period, smaller than the 4.2 percent reported in May. Still, it marked the fifth straight quarter of economic decline, extending the recession in a country in dire need of recovery from the pandemic. According to the PSA, the major contributors to the revision were professional and business services with a contraction of 4.4 percent from 6.5 percent earlier.
Amid worry that more children are getting infected with the COVID-19 virus, the Department of Health on Monday clarified that infections are increasing across all age groups. It said cases among all age groups rose 59% in the July 29 to August 8 period compared to July 12-25. DOH said the biggest jump was in the 30-39 age group, while the lowest increase was among those aged 80 and above. It did not give details on the increase in cases among children and teens.
The Food and Drug Administration said Russian vaccine maker Gamaleya has applied for emergency use of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in the country. The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced in May that Sputnik Light has been authorized for use in their country. The coronavirus shot is based on a human adenoviral vector platform and has a storage requirement of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. The RDIF said it has 79.4% efficacy.
The country's Food and Drug Administration recognized the risk of children contracting the more transmissible Delta variant, but remained firm that adults must be prioritized in the current vaccination program. FDA chief Eric Domingo added that the safety of COVID-19 vaccines must be first tested on adults before they are administered to children. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III echoed the same opinion, saying further studies must be made to ensure that the vaccines are safe for children, especially those who are immunocompromised.
The Metro Manila mayors have decided to prohibit outdoor exercises in the capital region during the two-week strict lockdown amid threats of the more transmissible Delta variant. The National Capital Region is under the strict enhanced community quarantine until August 20 amid rising COVID-19 cases that may be driven by the feared variant. This means only selected establishments are allowed to operate and movement across the region and beyond is controlled. Prior to this, some outdoor exercises - like walking around, jogging, and biking - were allowed from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
As coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines continue to arrive in the country, the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 said they are now studying the inclusion of children in the government's vaccination program. Galvez said the age group they are eyeing for inclusion in the vaccination program covers 12 to 17 years.
In a report, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa that while the year-on-year print is projected to be an expansion he forecasts the quarter-on-quarter figure to be at -1.5 percent, which is better than the -4.2 percent in the first three months of this year. He added that the second quarter output, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), was hampered by the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR Plus bubble, which covers the National Capital Region (NCR) and four surrounding areas namely Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna, from March 29 to April 11.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat reiterated her call for support among the DOT’s public and private partners to further accelerate the department's vaccination drive for tourism workers. She noted that aside from its target beneficiaries in Bohol and Boracay who have yet to receive their vaccines, the DOT also seeks to speed up the vaccination of tourism workers in tourist destinations that are not included in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8, which consists of the NCR, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal – areas that were identified by the government as the most populous and with the highest density, which makes them at greater risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission.
According to the latest cash operations report posted on the BTr website, the government’s gross borrowings totaled to P1.93 trillion, up versus the P1.72 trillion raised a year ago. Gross domestic borrowings accounted for a large chunk amounting to P1.65 trillion, 25.89 percent up from the year ago level of P1.31 trillion. Of the said amount, P463.32 billion came from the retail treasury bonds (RTBs) issued in March.
Grant of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives can help achieve the goal of the Asean Green Initiative (AGI) of planting at least 10 million native trees over a period of 10 years, according to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Secretariat. Formally launched last Friday, AGI aims to set standards for the recognition of tree-planting activities across the region not only to re-grow forests but contribute to people’s well-being, livelihood improvement and resilience-building.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has signed on Friday an order lifting the provisional safeguard duties on imported passenger cars (PCs) and light commercial vehicles (LCVs). The order, to be published this week by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), follows a Tariff Commission (TC) report that found imports did not come in increased quantities, whether in absolute terms or relative to domestic production, during the period of investigation of 2014 to 2020.
Congress remained divided on the passage of a third Bayanihan law. For Senator Panfilo Lacson, passing the proposed P401-billion Bayanihan 3 bill might be “too late” since there are less than three weeks left before the executive branch transfers a copy of the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP) to Congress. As one of its principal authors, Quimbo appealed anew for its speedy passage of Bayanihan 3 in the Upper House stressing that it will take a “long time” before the government provide another round of financial assistance to Filipino families if the Congress will wait for the passage of the 2022 GAA.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the country may go up to 15,000 a day or even higher despite the recent imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, an infectious disease expert and government health consultant said yesterday. This is because the impact of the August 6 to 20 ECQ will be felt likely only after seven to 10 days of its implementation, said Rontgene Solante, chairman of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine unit of the San Lazaro Hospital. The Department of Health reported 9,671 new cases yesterday. It reported 11,021 cases and 10,623 cases last Friday.
The Covid-19 vaccine NVX-Cov2373 developed by Novavax, a US biotechnology company, demonstrated a 92.6-percent efficacy against variants of concern and interest including the Delta variant. This was reported from ongoing analysis of the Phase III US/Mexico Clinical Trial on 30,000 participants. Regulatory filings for Emergency Use Application (EUA) in the Philippines, India, and Indonesia have been submitted and are under evaluation. Emergency Use Listing (EUL) with the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to be filed within the month of August along with filings in other countries, including those considered as Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs).
According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, the Philippine export industry is ready to participate in the anticipated economic growth in Asia amid the reopening of the global markets. In June, the DTI noted that Philippine exports nearly grew by 10 percent to $563.9 million, thanks to the reopening of major economies such as the United States, China and European Union. The Trade department noted that exports to US improved by 23.8 percent year-on-year, while shipments to China jumped by 14.8 percent in June.
Looser lockdown restrictions, coupled with base effects likely lifted the Philippine economy out of the recession in the second quarter, economists said, adding that the outlook for sustained recovery remains cloudy due to the reimposition of tighter restrictions this month. A BusinessWorld poll of 20 analysts yielded a gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate of 10.6% for the second quarter, a turnaround from the annual contractions of 4.2% and 17% posted in the first quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2020, respectively. If realized, this would be the fastest year-on-year GDP growth rate since the 12% expansion in the fourth quarter of 1988.
The Philippines’ trade in goods with the rest of the world climbed 26.1 percent year-on-year to $89.25 billion in the first half of 2021, with six-month exports exceeding prepandemic shipments amid global economic recovery. The Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) latest preliminary external trade data released on Friday showed that end-June merchandise exports grew by 20.9 percent to $35.9 billion, reversing the 14.1-percent drop a year ago. The end-June figure also exceeded the $34.58 billion posted in the same period in 2019.
Nearly 11 million Metro Manila residents being locked down for 15 days starting on Friday (Aug. 6) will receive some cash after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P10.89 billion from government savings for the purpose. Quezon City will receive the biggest allocation of P2.37 billion, followed by Manila (P1.49 billion), and Caloocan City (P1.34 billion).