Press Release
July 22, 2020

Drilon: PHL should brace for recession
Opposition ready to cooperate, he assures

As recession is about to hit the Philippines, once dubbed as 'Asia's rising tiger', Senate Minority Leader Franklin M, Drilon said the next six months would be crucial in setting up the stage for economic recovery.

Drilon said this as he minced no words to call a failure the strategies implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force, which leads the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Drilon said that the Inter-Agency Task Force has failed to address the worsening health crisis and its impact including surging unemployment and involuntary hunger that hit 5.2 million Filipino families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The IATF has failed. Let's call a spade a spade. Look at where we are today: 70,764 Filipinos were affected as of yesterday, deaths running to 1,837, 5 million of our people unemployed, 40 percent of our MSMEs closed, and, the worst, 5.2 million Filipino families suffered hunger in the past three months," Drilon said during an interview with ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila on Wednesday.

According to the latest Social Weather Station survey, about 20.9 percent or an estimated 5.2 million of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the highest hunger rate since September 2014, he noted.

He stressed that it does not help that Secretary Francisco Duque III lacks the credibility to be able to command people to do things. "He cannot influence decisions," he added.

Drilon said the Philippine economy is facing a recession due to the expected contractions of the economy for the first two quarters.

The Philippine economy contracted by 0.2% during the first quarter and the forecast for the second quarter is even worse, he noted.

The economists define recession as involving economic contractions for two succeeding quarters.

"This means that the next six months will be a question of how to survive. They say that to survive in today's situation is already a success. We must be able to survive so that we can set the stage for economic recovery," Drilon emphasized.

For the minority leader, the fifth State of the Nation Address next week would be an opportunity for the President to lay down his plans towards economic recovery, which, he added, the IATF has failed to do.

"This coming SONA next week is one of the most important state of the nation addresses that people would be witness to. I would like to hear the President lay out a comprehensive plan that the people would be looking for and would be guided by, including us in the legislature," Drilon said.

"There is no solution to this but we have to take the bull by the horn and have proposals that will guide us. Today we have none, unfortunately," he added.

"The people would like some guidance from the President and they would like to see where we stand and where the government wants us to go," he added.

As the country grapples with the effects of the pandemic, Drilon said that the Filipino people need food, not constitutional reforms.

"There are five million Filipino families experiencing hunger for the past three months, is Cha-cha the solution?" said Drilon.

The minority leader also reiterated that the opposition is willing to cooperate in providing solutions by way of policies to address the pandemic.

"I would emphasize that today we live in a crucial period. Being in the opposition is not easy, especially with the troll farms all over the place. But we are willing to cooperate and provide to the best of our abilities policies that we believe can help our country get out of this difficulty. But we hope that we are listened to also," Drilon said.

News Latest News Feed