The country’s biggest business group said an 8-percent annual gross domestic product growth this year is possible if the government will reopen face-to-face classes starting August 2022.
Perry Ferrer, chair of the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Expo of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said while the group supports the government’s GDP growth target of 6 percent to 6.5 percent in the second half, the expansion could reach 8 percent if physical classes resume.
“I think the president made it clear that he is for allowing students to go back to school physically. If and when this happens, we believe that the economy has the potential to grow even higher than the forecast,” Ferrer, chairman of EMS Group of Companies, said in a briefing Tuesday.
PCCI president George Barcelon said the opening of F2F classes in the upcoming academic year is doable, “but the president should fill the post of the Health secretary to lay the ground works for the required preparation that must be put in place.”
Barcelon said the president’s concern is for students to catch up on their learning, especially those from the marginalized sector.
PCCI said to sustain the employability of Filipino workers, the government should have a detailed plan on the proposed return to schools of students.
The PCCI also expressed concern on the continued devaluation of the Philippine peso that might hurt the manufacturing sector.
It said that without a full-blown localized sourcing plan, manufacturers face steep increases in the price of imported raw materials.
“I can only imagine to what situation we will find ourselves, if the peso-dollar exchange rate hit P60 a US dollar,” said Ferrer.
He said the government needed to introduce measures to help temper the peso volatility against major currencies.
The PCCI will hold the 48th PBC&E on Oct. 19 to 20 at the Manila Hotel.