MANILA — Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Friday that reopening schools for face-to-face classes would boost economic growth by boosting small and medium-sized businesses and the service sector.
“Malaki ‘yan, from transport to food, lalo na yung MSME, malaki ‘yan. As I said earlier, service providers are the engine [of the economy] at least for the short term ano,” Balisacan said during an economic briefing by the Management Association of the Philippines.
(It will be huge, from transport to food, especially MSMEs, it’s huge.)
“If we look at the demand side, 70% of income is actually consumption, and of course, driven by remittances and low interest rates. On the supply side as well, a lot of things as well: services, 60% of GDP is really services, so you would have consumption and services as really part of the inside,” he added.
The 2022-2023 school year begins on Monday, with schools allowed to implement remote or blended learning until October 31. By November, all schools must move to in-person classes.
Balisacan said expansion in the services sector has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
“As we open up the economy, we need to keep that push going and then we will have more robust activity in the economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, foreign currencies have diversified from remittances to include BPO industry revenues, borrowings and investments, Balisacan said.
“BPOs and remittances are quite robust. Look how BPOs are during the pandemic, they kind of saved the economy,” he said.
Balisacan said that despite the challenges, the country was able to increase its GDP to an average of 6.3%.
“Looking at the last decade, growth was hardly sensitive to what was happening outside, the correlation was very low, which means the growth was coming from within,” he said.