Coronavirus pummels Philippines to worst crash on record

The Philippine economy shrank the largest on record last year after COVID-19 messed not only with the country’s hard-earned economic laurels but also with its ambitions to become a middle-income economy under President Duterte.

The health crisis’ impact was so severe that the slump in gross domestic product, which hit 9.5% year-on-year, beat even the previous record of 7% contraction during the twilight years of the Marcos dictatorship in 1984. Last year’s performance was the worst since records started in 1946.

Worse, scars left by the coronavirus and lockdowns it proliferated are likely to linger in the economy. In current prices, the pandemic wiped out 1.5 trillion pesos from 2019 GDP, reflecting the daunting task ahead for the Duterte administration that pledged to restore all these losses by 2022, its last year in office.

Last year’s performance fell within a government’s revised target of 8.5 to 9.5% contraction.

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