"The road to normalization will not be easy."
It's the Filipino people in general who will decide if the economy can quickly recover from the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the public immediately shed the protective armor that they consciously wore and used during the lockdown period and proceed with their old habits in reckless abandon, the economy will then have to bear with the second or third wave of infections, where the recovery will be difficult.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno agreed with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who earlier noted that flattening the virus curve would depend on how the public would behave during the reopening of the economy.
“A lot of things depend on the behavior of the Filipino people. If we can avoid a second wave or a third wave, the forecast will be steady. That means a U-shaped recovery..., says Diokno said. “But in case there is a second wave, that could mean a W-shaped recovery. That will be much worse than the revised forecast,” he said.
The BSP chief, along with the rest of the country's economic team, has been cautiously optimistic on the economic rebound, suggesting certain COVID-19 hotspots can be contained to pave the way for normalization.
The initial reaction of some Filipinos to the modified enhanced community quarantine restrictions, however, is not encouraging. Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla had to order the temporary closure of all shopping malls in the province following violation of the physical distancing guidelines. The local government official ordered the reopening in the next day after discussing new guidelines with mall owners.
The public must be reminded that they should strictly abide by the strict health protocols imposed by authorities at the start of the lockdown period and consistently practice them under the modified ECQ. The road to normalization will not be easy and may take longer than what the public expect.
The economy has already suffered a lot. With millions of Filipinos raring to reclaim their jobs and earnings, the rest of the public should do their share in the road to normalcy.