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‘Moving to the New Normal’

I GIVE way again to Vince S. Socco, the impregnable Toyota titan, who is my favorite writer-in-residence here. His is another engaging piece, as usual. Here:

Better days are ahead of us.

After an over 9 percent drop in GDP last year, 2021 is supposed to see a growth of 5.5 percent. Inflation has stabilized at 4.5 percent in the first five months and is expected to settle at between 2 to 4 percent for the year. Standard & Poor’s affirmed the country’s BBB+ sovereign rating with stable outlook in the next 18 to 24 months. OFW remittances are expected to rise with the return in global economic activity and a rise in demand for workers.

The key is in the vaccines.

Until the end of the year, it is reported that the Philippines will be able to receive a total of 130 million doses of various vaccines. That is enough to vaccinate 65 million Filipinos and usher us towards our goal of herd immunity. With an aggressive vaccine roll-out, consumer confidence is expected to return and this should, in turn, drive personal consumption and capital expenditures. The caveat here is that we can overcome vaccine hesitation that hounds around 60 percent of the population, as per a recent survey.

The auto industry is showing signs of a nascent recovery.

Auto sales from January to March show an encouraging rise. Total sales reached 74,585 units or a growth of 5.5 percent versus the same period last year. This is notwithstanding the effect of conditional safeguard duties imposed on completely-built-up vehicles in March. Understandably in April, there was a slip in sales following the re-imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). In May, however, sales are projected to be back up to over 23,000 units, the third highest monthly sales after January and February. That should bring year-to-date sales for 2021 to over 116,000 units or a growth of 50 percent compared to year-ago, albeit low base levels since ECQ in April and May last year resulted to practically nil sales.

Mobility will be an essential driver of any economic recovery.

There can be no economic recovery without a rise in mobility. People must be able to get around in order to work, perform essential tasks, patronize commercial establishments and feed local tourism, among others. This can be either through private or public transport. Without mobility or if mobility is restricted, the economy cannot fully function and any intention to revive business will be stunted. Surely, certain sectors can still function through work-from-home but there is no way that manufacturing concerns can do so. Even our much daunted business process outsourcing sector needs to work-from-work in order to keep it humming.

The government is doing its best to get its hands on the much needed supply of vaccines. We have to do our share by making sure we get the jabs into our arms when the opportunity arises. Otherwise, if we fail in getting to herd immunity, our economy will continue to limp along and livelihoods will continue to suffer. I recall that after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, the Philippines took 10 years to recover—the sick dog of Asia, we were called. Already, we are lagging our Asean neighbors in their recovery efforts from the current pandemic. Let’s not be the laggards this time; let us hurry back to our rising economic prominence prior to this sorry episode of Covid. Let us build the new normal and move forward—without delay.

Honda discounts

NOW comes Colene Jalalon’s “Season Ending Summer Special” from Honda on huge discounts for the month.

“Customers may now enjoy a 20 percent discount on genuine parts, lubricants, fluids, and accessories such as PM 2.5 cabin filter, regular cabin filter, spark plug, battery, brake pad, brake shoe, super long life coolant, automatic transmission fluid, manual transmission fluid, power steering fluid, HCF-2 CVTF fluid, brake fluid, and our existing additives such as engine cleaner and engine oil treatment.

“In addition, a P200 discount to buyers of a Honda fully synthetic oil (0W-20) for City and Civic, with year models 2017 and below.

“For those upgrading their vehicles, a 20 percent discount is given to side under spoilers, side garnish, front grille, exhaust pipe finishers, mud guard, and door visor, plus select City (2013-2020) tires, and an exclusive buy one-take one promo on select BR-V (2017-2021) tires.

“These and many more are being offered up to June 30.  Visit www.hondaphil.com for more details.”

PEE STOP From Jade B. Sison of Lexus Manila, this June promo from 30-50 percent downpayment, and zero interest for 36 months for the 2021 NX 300 and 2021 NX 300 F Sport.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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