“We lost P1.4 trillion during the first half. About P10.8 billion daily from April to June alone. The economy is gasping in the ER and a more robust stimulus package is the ventilator that it needs,” said Recto in a statement.
“The economic team, which is an autonomous unit in the administration and is on autopilot, largely insulated from presidential intervention, should present during budget hearings a second half battle plan,” he added.
Despite the economy’s precipitous drop by 16.5 percent in the second quarter this year, Dominguez has stubbornly stuck to his plan to limit the stimulus fund to just P140 billion or a tenth of the P1.3 trillion being pushed by Congress under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as Once Act, or Bayanihan 2. Dominguez is determined to keep debts within his covenant with credit raters and believes the economy can wait until next year for a bigger stimulus budget.
Recto has blamed the government’s failure to inspire confidence among Filipinos as it was too slow in boosting virus testing and medical capacity during the lockdown from mid-March to June.
“Fear of catching the virus is one reason for dampened consumption, which is three-fifths of the economic pie. We must flatten the curve to revive the flatlining economy,” said Recto.
Recto also believed the government erred when it grounded all public transportation during the entire second quarter.
“Not everything on the economy travels along the information highway.
Many, like food–the sector which posted growth–move on four wheels. Transportation is key because not everyone can work from home. But land transportation still shrank by 66 percent. The evaporation of safe commuting options contributed to the surge of the official unemployment rate to 17.7 percent, which, in turn, plunged consumption,” he said.