[by Rick Daligdig]
Our much awaited Year 2022, filled with hopes and desire to have good start and stronger foundation to bounce back to where it was before this pandemic hits us are filled with gloomy outlook. The first week of the month, we saw a fresh record – high of daily new cases of COVID 19. Hospitals are now filling – up with patients much worse, the infection is by family not per individual. Government are grappling in the essence of time to curb as soon as possible the emergence of surge.
Hoping for better Year…
We all knew the our country is still reeling on the effects of typhoon Odette which said it will make a dent in our Q4 GDP for 2021. To make our economy upbeat, Economic managers are pushing to downgrade the capital region to Level 1 citing the improvements in daily cases, hospital utilization. The education sector are also preparing for limited F2F classes for primary, secondary, SHS and tertiary level. Tourism industry are also anticipating the opening of our borders to foreigners to boost the sector. But all of this was stuck when the local transmission of COVID 19 due to Omicron was hit us.
Moreover, when the NCR+ returned to Alert Level 3, economic managers roughly estimates that around Php 100 billion are losing to our economy day by day. World Bank keeps the economic projection growth for Phils. at 5.9% in 2022 and 5.7% in 2023. But the multilateral lender cautioned about the effects of the resurgence of cases due to Omicron. Another concern is labor, everytime we impose stricter measures in mobility of people, some business and industries are forcedly to halt their operations, some are reducing the staff or worse shut down the business permanently. As a result unemployment incidence increase, it follows that more people will be hungry and live below the poverty line.
There still a silver lining…
I will not end my writing with a sad note. I still believe in the old saying of “there is a silver lining at the end of tunnel”. The question is how far are we before we reach the light in the of tunnel? It’s in our hands. We can still beat this Omicron if we follow the health protocols set by our health experts. Plus we need to be vaccinated or much better have a booster shot for added protection ( yours truly is fully vaxed and waiting for my booster). In the part of government, I asked to recalibrate the pandemic response in order to make a balance and guided principle to ensure that everyone is safe from Omicron at the same time have foods on their table. Health and Economy are vital, none of them should be neglected or given much weight over the other. By these, we are hopeful that we can get through this. ###