Press Release
January 29, 2021


Sen. Grace Poe asked administration officials to address the problem on unemployment if it intends to gear the economy towards a recovery instead of luring kids to go out of their homes.

"They've been telling people to go out and spend to prop up the economy. But before they can spend, they need to have the money to do so. Allowing kids to go out doesn't address that problem," said Poe, a child advocate.

The Philippine economy plunged to its lowest last year since 1946 when government first started coming out with the data, contracting by 9.5 percent. On the production side, agriculture, industry, and services all suffered declines. On the expenditure side, only government spending grew as consumer spending, investments, exports and imports fell.

"Economists and businessmen have been calling for a stronger fiscal stimulus since last year to prevent the closure of companies and prevent the loss of jobs. If we are to heal as one, we need to listen to all stakeholders. Wage subsidies would have put money in people's pockets so they can spend," Poe said.

The Philippines has among the longest quarantine restrictions in the world. Government's special amelioration was only provided during the strictest lockdown, or the two months of the enhanced community quarantine.

Ten months after the imposition of quarantine, the National Economic and Development Authority said it will now monitor the employment situation monthly.

"Why are we acknowledging the issue only now when businesses have been very vocal about the problem since last year? Sa dinami-dami na ng kanilang inambag, hindi man lang makuhang pakinggan at isama ang kanilang mungkahi sa solusyon? The Philippines is a democracy and constructive discourse should be its strength," Poe said.

Consumer spending is just one variable in the expenditure side of the gross domestic product equation that includes investments, exports, imports, and government spending.

"If economic planners are looking at consumer spending as the key to economic recovery, what they need to address is how people will have money to spend. I am no economist but they seem to be hyperfocusing on boosting consumer spending as if it was a just a simple solution," Poe said.

"Malupit at manhid namang sabihan sa mga taong lumabas sila at gumastos kung nawalan na nga sila ng trabaho at ang mahal pa ng bilihin ngayon, lalo na ang pagkain," Poe said.

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