The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 brought the Philippines into an economic turmoil as it entered a recession, contracting by a record-low of 9.5% for the full-year. Prolonged and restrictive lockdowns imposed to counter the spread of the virus forced thousands of businesses to either temporarily or permanently shut down. By the fourth quarter, the unemployment rate was estimated at 8.7%, translating to 3.8 million jobless Filipinos. The country also lags behind its peers in the region in recovering from the pandemic. A survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in November 2020 found that 62% of Filipinos said that they got worse off in the past 12 months.
Amid the crisis, the private sector went beyond its core business operations to provide unsolicited assistance in all fronts, especially to the more vulnerable members of society, who were the most affected by the lockdowns. Moreover, the country’s isolation facilities and testing capacity significantly improved due to public-private partnerships.
In their collective effort to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the private sector proved to be a reliable partner in augmenting the government’s efforts towards economic recovery. It is also with the support of business groups that more Filipinos would gain access to vaccines. Recognized as the driving influence through and beyond the crisis, the private sector continues to demonstrate how pandemic challenges could be transformed into opportunities in 2021. Interestingly, a survey conducted by Pulse Asia in September 2020 revealed that 85% of Filipinos agree that the government should engage with the private sector for economic recovery. Businesses are seen to drive the creation of investments, jobs, and income security that are needed to alleviate poverty, inequality, and other economic insecurities. This shared prosperity will play a crucial part in uplifting the lives of Filipinos.
Healthcare response to the pandemic highlighted the government’s actions in 2020. The ensuing years will be defined by how the government will manage its multi-sectoral responses to address the long-term socio-economic impact of the pandemic. In this light, the Stratbase ADR Institute (ADRi) organized a virtual roundtable discussion (vRTD)―the first of a quarterly series―entitled, “The Private Sector as the Reliable Partner for Economic Recovery” held earlier today.
This virtual event sought to bring together thought leaders from the country’s top business groups to discuss the vital role of the private sector in economic recovery through public-private partnerships, as well as their insights on the appropriate government policies that should be prioritized in the context of an evolving economic and political landscape.
Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” C. Manhit
President, Stratbase ADR Institute
Amb. Albert del Rosario
Chairperson, Stratbase ADR Institute
Prospects for Philippine Businesses in the Global Supply Chain
Mr. Ernest Z. Bower
President and CEO, BowerGroupAsia (BGA)
Sustaining Business Growth
Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico
President, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)
The Calibrated Reopening of the Philippine Economy to Spur Employment
Mr. Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr.
President, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP)
Promoting Management Excellence to Achieve Post-Pandemic Prosperity
Mr. Aurelio ‘Gigi’ Montinola III
President, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP)
Policy Advocacies for Inclusive Recovery
Mr. Edgar O. Chua
Chairperson, Makati Business Club (MBC)
Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala
Chairman and CEO, Ayala Corporation
Host & Moderator
Ms. Elizabeth Lee
Board Trustee, Philippine Trade Foundation (Philippines, Inc.)