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Economists wants to refocus on pre-pandemic economic targets

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Economists from the academe and financial markets on Tuesday urged the government to set its sights back to pre-pandemic targets now that the economic effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) contagion have waned, according to a report by Phiippine News Agency.

Roberto Galang, dean at the Ateneo de Manila’s (ADM) John Gokongwei School of Management (JGSM), said the government needs to “refocus efforts on fundamental problems that were glossed over by the pandemic.”

“The Philippines has fully recovered from the pandemic and has returned to a comfortable growth path,” he said in an interview.


Galang said high on the administration’s “to-do list” should be the rehabilitation of the country’s congested transport infrastructure.

“Manila airport (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) is suffering from intense congestion, which three years of limited travel has allowed us to forget,” he said.

More investments are needed in power plants and bulk water supply, which were also put in the backburner during the pandemic, he added.

Galang, a noted expert on agricultural logistics, also called for a revitalization of the agricultural sector, by stimulating more investments in better farming technology and building a more efficient system for moving produce from the farm to consumers.


“The country’s economic outlook for the rest of the year is positive, although the risk of food inflation remains possible due to El Niño,” he said.

Galang’s appeal came on the heels of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) latest projection on the country’s medium-term inflation path.

“The May 2023 inflation outturn of 6.1 percent is within the BSP’s forecast range of 5.8 to 6.6 percent, consistent with the overall assessment that inflation will remain elevated over the near term before gradually decelerating back to target range in fourth quarter of 2023, in the absence of further supply-shocks,” the BSP said in a statement on Tuesday.

Alan Tan, chair of ADM’s economics department, said “the economy is poised to grow at its average pace of 6.5 percent this second quarter. This is supported by softening inflation and lowering global oil prices.”

Meanwhile, market analyst Astro Del Castillo, president and managing director of First Grade Holdings, said he is more optimistic about the second semester of the year because “the worst of the inflation surge is now behind us.”

With all the pandemic restrictions gone, he said, the economy is once again poised to resume its forward momentum.

However, Del Castillo warned that food security and the energy situation in portions of the country must be addressed sooner rather than later.

It was noted that provinces like Occidental Mindoro, and to a lesser extent, Oriental Mindoro, have been suffering from rotating brownouts since the onset of the dry season.

Del Castillo said the government should lay the groundwork to enhance domestic food production to avoid situations like the recent onion supply crisis, which began late last year and extended to the opening weeks of 2023.

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