THE COUNTRY’S progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) laid out by the United Nations has been affected by the pandemic, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said. 

“We will be seeing some changes, but it doesn’t mean that they are insurmountable. We have seen some of these indicators where we have significant gains delayed for a couple of years or three years,” Mr. Chua said in an online briefing on Thursday. 

There are 17 SDGs focused on eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth sustainably. 

Mr. Chua said while the country has been adversely affected by the pandemic, it has economic and social foundations that will help it recover. 

“We still have the people, their skills, we have our infrastructure, the factories and offices. The problem is the pandemic made it impossible to have everyone work because we had to be more risk averse initially,” he said. 

Mr. Chua said he believes the economy can recover and get back on track towards attaining the SDGs on the back of ramped-up vaccination, “better risk management” and support packages through lower taxes, subsidies, as well as fiscal and monetary support. 

“I am still hopeful that after a few years of delay, we will be able to get back up because of the strong social and economic foundations, and our commitment to the SDGs,” Mr. Chua said. 

The economy recorded its worst recession since the Marcos regime in 2020 as when gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 9.6%. 

In the second quarter, GDP expanded by 11.8%, mainly due to base effects from the record 17% decline in the same period of 2020. 

The government has downgraded its growth target for this year to 4-5% from 6-7% previously, saying the fresh infection surge due to the Delta variant could hamper recovery. — LWTN