The Philippine economy has so far bled P700 billion due to quarantine efforts to contain the coronavirus disease 2019, according to a National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) survey, indicating this could grow to P1.1 trillion.
In a virtual briefing with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said economic losses due to quarantine measures are estimated to range from P700 billion to P1.1 trillion.
"Based on the surveys, we gathered that the effect of COVID so far, primarily because of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) is some P700 billion," he said.
Chua said the NEDA, in partnership with the Department of Finance (DOF), conducted two surveys some three weeks ago -- one for consumers covering 200,000 respondents, and another for small businesses covering 44,000 respondents.
NEDA earlier said that economic growth is projected to drop to 0% this year and could even fall to negative territory due to the quarantine.
"If GDP (gross domestic product) right now is P18.6 trillion and we will not grow by the 6%, then basically the loss that we are basically seeing is it can be P1.1 trillion," said Chua.
"So far, the survey seemed to say that is not very far off, because the survey says around P700 billion in losses according to the people we interviewed," he pointed out.
First quarter growth
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is scheduled to release first-quarter economic growth [report] next Thursday, May 7, 2020, with growth expected to have slowed from the 5.6% the first quarter of 2019 -- the slowest in four years.
"My sense is that we have good potential to see a positive growth, but we shouldn't be surprised if the numbers are not to our best favor," said Chua.
Chua noted that among the factors that could affect growth during the quarter are the Taal Volcano unrest in January, the decline in trade and tourism due to the COVID outbreak in China, and the enhanced community quarantine.
"All of these factors are basically affecting the prospects for very good GDP numbers, so we'll have to wait next week if we see better growth or slightly worse, but I wouldn't be surprised because we already know what has happened to the economy since January," he said. —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/LBG, GMA News