At least 1.2 million workers might temporarily lose their jobs due to the strict quarantine enforced by the Philippine government to curb the spread of COVID-19, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
Dominguez estimated that the Luzon-wide quarantine could result in the loss of gross value added equivalent to 0 to -1 percent.
“Itong COVID-19 has hit us in a very hard way. Katotohanan lang ang estimate natin our GDP growth will be 0 or -1 percent. Ang unemployment rate natin ay 1.2 million workers,” Dominguez said.
The Finance chief said he also expects the budget deficit to widen to 5.3 percent from 3.2 percent.
“We will be spending more than we will be collecting but we are spending more in order to save the people and make sure they have food on the table during this time.”
He said the debt to GDP will increase by 41 to 47 percent, but added it is "still very low compared to other neighboring countries."
Dominguez said the government is also currently working on a "bounce-back program," but they will have to first figure out the damage to the economy.
President Rodrigo Duterte, together with several Cabinet officials, including Dominguez, appeared in a televised address early dawn Thursday to update the nation on government efforts to address the emergency situation.
The country has so far recorded 3,870 cases of COVID-19, including 182 fatalities and 96 recoveries. —LDF/NB, GMA News