The Philippine economy contracted for the first time in more than two decades as lockdowns crippled economic activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on May 7 that the country’s gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent from the 6.7 percent of the previous quarter last year.
The decline was the first since 1998 during the financial crisis in Asia when the country’s GDP fell 3 percent.
GDP is the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country in a year.
“This is the first time real GDP growth fell into negative territory since 1998 during the combined El Niño and Asian financial crisis,” said acting socioeconomic planning chied Karl Kendrick Chua.
Chua attributed the decline to the eruption of Taal volcano in January and the pandemic that has “certainly posed serious challenges to the country’s strong growth and development prospects.”
“Containing the spread of the virus and saving hundreds of thousands of lives through the imposition of the [enhanced community quarantine] has come at great cost to the Philippine economy,” he said.
He said the second quarter “might be worse.”
Chua, however, expressed hope that the country “can fully recover.”
“The idea here is that we use our policies and our collective effort to proactively shape our future into a recovery that looks more like a ‘V-shape’ so that by the end of the year, we will have a respectable economic performance,” he said.