The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), an inter-agency body tasked to set the government’s macroeconomic targets, will meet tomorrow, Wednesday, August 18, to reassess the country’s recovery amid the mutating coronavirus.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III

But ahead of the DBCC meeting, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the government’s chief economic manager, has admitted Tuesday, August 17, that the country is facing a future that is still uncertain.

“We are facing a crisis unlike any other we have faced before,” Dominguez told reporters. “We have a virus that is mutating, and the mutations are quite severe so far in their new variants. So I cannot predict what will happen in the future.”

President Duterte imposed a fresh round of lockdowns this month placing Metro Manila and other areas across the country under varying levels of strict quarantine controls. This move has effectively put the breaks on further reopening plans.

Moreover, the Philippines experiences yet another surge in coronavirus infections due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

“Unfortunately, our COVID virus is not standing still, if it were standing still we can beat him to death. But it’s not, they’re evolving, mutating,” Dominguez said.

As highly contagious strain of the virus poses unclear future, Dominguez assured that the government is facing the Delta variant head on.

“I cannot predict what what new form will come up but rest assured that we are ready to meet it with our first line of defense,” Dominguez said, referring to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Dominguez reiterated said that the success of the country’s anti-COVID-19 vaccination program is the key to a strong and sustained economic recovery.

He added that the Philippines is on the right track as it has now been receiving a steady supply of vaccines and has ability to administer vaccines on a wide scale in a fast and efficient manner.

“We have also been investing heavily in our healthcare. So that seems to be the only logical way we can approach this now,” Dominguez said. “The government is doing everything it can.”

In the second-quarter, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated 11.8 percent, a reversal of the pandemic-driven 17 percent contraction seen in the same period last year.

The second-quarter GDP has been hailed as the Philippines’ strongest performance in more than three-decades and marked the end of five consecutive quarters of negative growth, or recession.

The record performance for the quarter ending June, the highest since the fourth-quarter of 1988, brought the first-semester GDP at 3.95 percent.

However, the local economy is losing some momentum as the second-quarter GDP showed a contraction of 1.3 percent compared with the January to March output. In the previous quarter, seasonally adjusted GDP grew 0.3 percent.

The government expects full-year economic growth to come in between 6.0 percent and 7.0 percent. To hit at least the low-end of the target, the economy should expand 8.2 percent in July to December.

Source: Manila Bulletin (