Press Releases

Salceda welcomes upgrading of PH growth outlook; says keeping COVID response ‘proportional’ and prices under control to cement economic recovery

July 6th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) welcomed the upgrading of the country’s growth outlook from 6.5% to 6.9% by the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) this week, following its view that “The driver for this growth is really the reopening of the economy.”

“The upgrade signals that our macrofiscal framework is very strong. We have very good cooks in the economic kitchen, headed by Finance Secretary Diokno. Should the threat of global economic troubles materialize, we should perform better than the world, as we did during PGMA’s management of the global financial crisis,” Salceda said.

“The real trouble remains inflation and a disproportionate response to COVID-19 infections. Economic recovery is typically accompanied by an upward demand shock. But what’s different now is that we have an external military issue that’s affecting global supply chains. The Philippines must be ready to adapt.”

Salceda, known as the House’s senior economist, says that he has submitted to the emerging supermajority coalition’s leadership a package of interventions under the “Bayan Bangon Muli” package.

In his note to the leadership, Salceda explained that “Government must ensure a first-do-no-harm policy.”

“That means interventions must remain market-oriented, and government efforts must be focused on increasing constrained supply rather than imposing price restrictions. On the price side, high prices per se may not necessarily be unjust, so we have to have price abuse prevention mechanisms, instead of brute-force price ceilings. This bill this provides the president market-oriented but abuse-preventing powers within prudent limits and periods.”

Proportional response to COVID

Salceda also says that the country’s growth prospects “are contingent on a proportional COVID-19 response.”

“Lockdowns at early stages are good. Lockdowns at this late stage, when the virus is becoming endemic, are bad – costly and ineffective. We need a more proportional, more rational approach. That means protecting the vulnerable through vaccination, continuing the mask mandate in enclosed spaces, and preparing our preventative health care units such as BHWs. Of course, boosting healthcare capacity above all is the most important intervention.”

“I would say the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau will be crucial right now, as well as our health facilities management offices,” Salceda added.

“I’m sure PBBM will name his pick for Health secretary soon.”

“If we overreact on the basis of cases alone, we will sabotage our own economic recovery. A proportional response is not a lax response. It simply means the proper response, the response that will work considering the costs and the benefits.””

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