The arrival of more coronavirus vaccines will provide the country’s economy a big shot in the arm, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Finance Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil S. Beltran said that health risks posed by the pandemic should be managed effectively and efficiently to ensure the country’s recent gains are not eroded.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran

In particular, Beltran said the transmission of the virus should be contained, especially as new variants arise.

“Otherwise, government will be forced to transition from risk management stance to risk avoidance posture and make the difficult and painful decision of imposing much stricter quarantine measures,” Beltran said.

“In this instance, in the process of attempting to stem the spread of the disease, the risk of inadvertently killing the proverbial patient increases,” he added.          

 Last Friday, the Philippines received over two million more AstraZeneca vaccines and 132,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. To date, the country has received over 20.6 million doses coming from various sources.

 The government is targeting to inoculate 70 percent of the country’s population by end of 2021. Based on the latest data from the Department of Health, over 3.2 million of Filipinos were fully vaccinated, or just around 2.9 percent of the country’s population.

Meanwhile, Beltran noted the improving unemployment situation in the Philippines.

  “The employment figures are encouraging,” Beltran said, referring to the over 1.4 million jobs that were regained in May this year.

Early this year, the number of employed recovered to its pre-pandemic level, but the reimposition of stricter quarantine measures in the Metro Manila and nearly areas had cost the economy more than two million jobs lost in April.

  “The easing of restrictions regained more than 1.4 million jobs in May, leaving more than 600,000 jobs yet to be recovered from the March employment level,” Beltran said.

   “Nevertheless, it is encouraging that the May underemployment rate of 12.28 percent has fallen below its pre-pandemic level of 14.81 percent,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (