dpa/GNA – The Philippine economy contracted by 9.5 per cent in 2020, the worst performance in three decades, mainly due to the impact of lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the government said on Thursday.
The gross domestic product (GDP) performance was the worst since 1984, when the economy slumped by 7.4 per cent, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
The GDP declined by 8.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to a growth of 6.7 per cent in the same October-December period in 2019, the agency added.
“Covid-19 disrupted our growth momentum and development trajectory,” Socio-economic planning secretary Karl Kendrick Chua. “This government made a difficult decision of imposing community quarantines as it put a premium on saving lives and protecting communities.”
“While beefing up our health capacity, this is not without consequence,” he added. “Like any policy decision that comes with trade-offs, this one came at a huge cost to the economy and the people.”
All three major economic sectors posted declines in 2020, the statistics agency said.
Agriculture dropped by 0.2 per cent, services by 9.1 per cent and industry by 13.1 per cent, it added.
The government imposed a lockdown on the main island of Luzon and other high-risk areas in the middle of March last year, but began to ease restrictions in June in a bid to jump-start the economy.
Public transport, shopping malls, salons, barber shops, restaurants, private offices and even churches have reopened, but are only allowed to operate in a reduced capacity. Large gatherings are still not allowed and travel restrictions are in place.