PH to shift its focus from COVID-19 response to economic development: Marcos
The Philippines is shifting its focus from health response to economic growth, with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration to the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said.
Speaking at the Asian Development Bank, Marcos said that the government can refocus its plans and priorities guided by the “stinging lessons” from the pandemic.
“We can now refocus our priorities on the development of our economy and the betterment of the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” Marcos said.
However, he said that COVID-19 health protocols will still remain.
“While the declaration does not mean that we abruptly abandon our universal health protocols, it certainly gave the world the reassurance that perhaps the worst is over,” he said.
Marcos said the government aims to gear the country’s economy towards a “better normal” or surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
“Our goal is still to evolve our economy into one that is defined by sustainability, climate-resilience, responsiveness, and of course, inclusivity,” he said.
He said the government will also adopt different approaches including the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, public-private partnerships, and international collaborations.
Marcos vowed that the country will meet its responsibilities in with ADB, which he considers a reliable partner in providing developmental assistance programs.
“In keeping with our solid partnership that we have had for decades, we will look to the ADB for crucial developmental interventions in these critical areas,” Marcos said.
“We are aware of the responsibilities that this relationship carries with it. But we will reecho my father’s words during the ADB inauguration some 57 years ago: 'We will meet those responsibilities'.”
“We will ensure that the plans and projects are stringently and are timely executed. We will also ensure judicious utilization of the loans and other technical assistance that are provided to the country,” he said.
Marcos also expressed hope that ADB will keep supporting the country in its “transformative journey.
“It is our continuing and collective hope that the ADB will continue to be there by our side to lend its support throughout our transformative journey,” Marcos said.
On May 5, WHO declared that COVID-19 was no longer a public health emergency of international concern since it was going on a “downward trend”.
According to WHO, immunity against the disease has increased, death rates have declined, and the pressure on health systems has eased. Jaspearl Tan/DMS