Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque claimed that reopening the Philippine economy is the only guarantee to address hunger.

The statement came after a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that a record-high 7.6 million Filipino families went hungry in the past three months.

Roque reiterated that the Duterte administration will continue its programs to assist those hit by the pandemic as some P13 billion is allotted under the Bayanihan 2 Act for residents of areas that will be placed under localized lockdowns.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will also continue its cash-for-work program while the Department of Finance (DOF) will still provide subsidy for small and medium businesses, the Palace official said.

“Ang garantiya na mapababa natin ang bilang ng nagugutom ay buksan ang ekonomiya nang mas marami ang makapaghanapbuhay. Ang ayuda temporary lang yan, mas mabuting bigyan natin ng permanenteng hanapbuhay muli ang ating mga kababayan,” said Roque.

In the second quarter, the country’s economy shrunk and plunged into recession, the first time in nearly 30 years, amid one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

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