Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Friday said the drop in Filipinos’ quality of life as shown by a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey was an “adverse effect” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Aug. 13, the SWS released results of a survey conducted from July 3 to 6. 

Of the 1,555 correspondents who were asked: “Comparing your quality of life these days to how it was 12 months ago, would you say that your quality of life is better now than before, same as before, or worse now than before?” 79 percent said their quality of life worsened.

The pollster said July 2020 reading was the second highest recorded by SWS. It was next only to the record-high 83 percent in May 2020.

“[The SWS survey] showing a big majority of Filipinos indicated that their quality of life got worse this year compared to a year ago is a cause of concern,” Roque said in a statement.

“We understand this public sentiment considering that our government economists have mentioned that prior to Covid-19, the Philippines was among the fastest growing economies in the region, with low and stable inflation and lowest ever rates of unemployment, underemployment, and poverty. The coronavirus has indeed adversely affected our economy and people’s livelihood and business,” he added.

To cushion the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, Roque said government economic managers have prepared a “whole-of-society program” called Recharge PH.

Recharge PH seeks to “refocus, sharpen the design and accelerate the implementation of programs” under the 2020 General Appropriations.

He said the program would be implemented within 2020 and into 2021 and would be incorporated in the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

Priority Build, Build, Build programs have also been restarted to provide employment, Roque said.

Congress recently passed Bayanihan 2 which aims to provide stimulus and realign the national budget for pandemic response.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the country into recession, with gross domestic product declining by 16.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020— the largest drop ever since 1981.  John Ezekiel J. Hirro