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Public confidence in gov’t key to recovery

A former monetary official highlighted the need for harmonized efforts to reopen the economy while addressing the impact of the pandemic to assure citizens that the government is on top of the situation.

During the virtual “Pilipinas Conference 2020: Rebooting the Economy Post-Pandemic: Cushioning the Long Emergency” hosted by the Stratbase ADR Institute, former Bangko Sentral deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo said it is a must for the government to show pandemic management while reopening the economy.

Guinigundo said that since the current crisis is caused by a pandemic, “the civil society expects no less than a good effort on the part of the government” to move towards flattening the infection numbers.

He also said fiscal policy should be “very strong” to address the requirements.

A similar expectation is up for monetary policies, he said, adding “what is important is to monitor and also talk to the banks to avoid procyclicality”.

Guinigundo said it is not enough for the government to ensure there is adequate liquidity in the system because banks should also take part in making sure that access to credit is available to both the households and in businesses.

On top of these measures are the need for the government to continue pursuing policy and structural reforms, he said.

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“The name of the game is confidence, and we can only build confidence if the people are confident that our government is doing something positive and effective for them,” he added.

During the same event, former Socioeconomic Planning secretary Ernesto Pernia said Filipinos’ Bayanihan (helping out) spirit comes to the fore this time, citing the importance of mutual trust, confidence and empathy between the government and the private sector, as well as the government and citizenry.

Pernia said increased government spending should include those targeted to fortify the health system capacity, hikes in remuneration and working conditions of healthcare personnel, and to build or improve the social infrastructure to provinces.

He said spending for additional infrastructures like hospitals, laboratories, and medical schools around the country “will magnify the impact of other economic stimulus measures”.

Aside from ensuring that infrastructure programs are executed, the former chief socio-economic planner also raised the need to implement the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2020 or RH Law to recoup lost opportunities from failed population management.

Another important factor to focus on is investing in environment and nature protection as well as disaster reduction, preparedness, and management, he said.

These factors would boost the achievement of the government’s sustainable and inclusive growth bid, he added.