The Philippines has been tagged as the “clear laggard” (read: last) among Asian nations, with its economy forecast to revert to pre-pandemic levels only by the end of 2022.
According to Moody’s, a respected multi-national business and risk consultancy outfit, this can be attributed to Philippine officials’ snail-paced approach in addressing the Covid19 crisis and as well as their sluggishness in implementing the national vaccine rollout, which both have severely hamstrung the operations of the business sector.
One significant factor dampening overall productivity, Moody’s said, is the massive vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos due to misinformation, huge bureaucratic distrust and the negative effects of the 2016 dengue vaccine controversy (Dengvaxia).
It was noted that the protracted fight against Covid19 had severely impaired the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos. Resultantly, retail sales stagnated which caused a slowdown in manufacturing lines.
Moody’s said the Philippines fared poorly compared to its neighbors due to the failing of certain health officials, compounded by massive vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos.
So far, only some 2.7 percent of the country’s 110 million people have received one dose of the vaccine, while a miniscule 0.8 percent are fully vaccinated.
While countries such as China, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea were seen to have reverted to their normal output levels, Moody’s said the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by a mere 5.3 percent this year, which for all intents and purposes is dead last hereabouts.
Moody’s prediction is far below the self-serving estimate of 6 to 7 percent growth being peddled by government economists wishing to look good before their benefactors in Malacanang.
Moody’s added that Indonesia and Thailand are likewise on the road to economic recovery before the current year is over, thereby making the Philippines “the clear laggard in Asia.”