The Philippine economy is heading towards a second straight year of recession without proper fiscal interventions from the national government, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila President Emmanuel Leyco said.
This will leave more Filipinos jobless and hungry.
“Given what we saw last month, the double dip looks like an inevitable scenario and I think that should be a wake-up call for all of us,” Leyco told One News’ BusinessWorld Live on Tuesday.
The PLM president, who is also a public finance and economics professor, added that while the first three months of 2021 looked promising after last year’s slump, the gains may be erased by the return to lockdowns for the past five weeks due to a surge in COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“Given the choice between going hungry and staying home, people were saying: ‘I’d rather take the risk to have some money to feed my family,’” Leyco said. “The consumer has been weakened and in fact, consumption almost collapsed. If we are going to take a look at whatever stimulus that should be injected into the economy, it should be directed towards the consumers.”
Leyco has been calling for additional cash aid for displaced families more than a year since local outbreaks led to business closures and worker layoffs, sending more people into poverty. The national government provided only P1,000 per person for qualified beneficiaries this time.
“You have to strengthen, you have to reinforce, you have to put money in the pockets of our consumers. Unfortunately, that is not happening, and I am not sure that is in the agenda. The limted ayuda that has been given to our people barely created a dent,” he added.
“The people are hungry and they cannot afford to buy their basic needs. That’s why community pantries took off right away.”