Infrastructure spending to support the economy (支持經濟的基礎設施支出)

Date: Apr 5, 2021

Increased government infrastructure spending is more needed now after the implementation of stricter quarantine measures in the National Capital Region (NCR) and four nearby provinces from March 22 to April 4, 2021, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

The government, through the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (AITF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, implemented stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) for the National Capital Region (NCR), Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan for two weeks hoping to stop the spread of coronavirus disease. 

Chief economist Michael Ricafort of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) said “Tighter restrictions, resulting to reduction in the capacity and scale of some affected business and industries would once again slow down the pace of economic recovery,”

Ricafort said the recent upticks in Covid-19 infections, with the latest figure reaching a record-high of 10,014, “would also result in less people going out as a matter of prudence and would result in reduced consumer spending and slower pick-up in economic and business activities.” 

He said while the latest measures are stricter compared to recent weeks, it is still “milder” compared to those implemented in 2020 since it aims to “lower new Covid-19 cases and better manage Holy Week, which is a potential superspreader event as people travel, meet, and congregate, while keeping the economy as open as possible while observing strict health protocols.”

“Thus, government spending especially on infrastructure would be needed more to pump the economy, as a result, also in preparation for the 2022 presidential elections a little over a year from now,” he added. 

Ricafort said “reduction in new Covid-19 cases and further arrival and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines would be the key to further justify reopening of the economy to support economic recovery prospects.”

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said his department “has always advocated a policy of conserving all our resources in anticipation of a recurrence of the contagion, in order for the country to be able to make the appropriate response at any given time.”

“For now, we will examine all available facts and weigh the knowledgeable opinions from domestic and international sources to arrive at a recommendation for action,” he added.