Before the coronavirus messed things up, the administration pledged to propel the Philippines to an upper-middle income economy.
With the anniversary of the health crisis, the government has realized the enormous cost of lockdowns on the economy, much more when 70% of annual economic output is coming out of the pockets of our young workforce.
The change in government pandemic messaging is obvious. On Harry Roque’s podium during press briefings, gone are the words “Stay Home,” now replaced by more lenient reminders of “mask, hugas (or wash hands), and iwas (or social distancing).”
But as last in line on getting the delayed vaccines, young Filipinos whose spending is critical to economic health are not taking any chances and are choosing to patiently wait for their turn, together with their more vulnerable families. Hence, while the Duterte administration now wants consumers out there, nobody seems to be listening.