Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The Philippine Statistics Authority recently reported that economic output, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), in the first three months of the year grew much faster than last year's same period rate of five percent and even managed to better the 6.5 percent GDP of the fourth quarter of 2015.
The better than expected rate of 6.9 percent for the first quarter of the year outpaces growth in most Asian countries, including powerhouse China, for the same period. It is above market expectations and the fastest growth our country has recorded since the 7 percent growth for the third quarter of 2013.
According to the PSA the fantastic growth for the period was driven mainly by the services sector that grew 7.9 percent on higher gains in trade, finance, real estate, renting and business activities and the industry sector that rose by 8.7 percent. This industrial growth is the fastest in five consecutive quarters and is supported by manufacturing, construction and utilities.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra believes the strength of both the industry and services sectors shows the ongoing structural transformation taking place in our economy which is crucial for sustaining economic growth and generating quality jobs.
This impressive GDP growth rate is made even more impressive by the poor performance of the agriculture sector that has been adversely affected by the El Niño as it braces for the La Niña that affect productivity as well.
The Philippines is the fastest growing economy in the first quarter among 11 selected Asian economies that have already released growth data. It beat China's 6.7 percent, Vietnam's 5.5 percent, Indonesia's 4.9 percent and Malaysia's 4.2 percent. We hope that the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte can build on the gains that have been made by his immediate predecessor's economic team and push our economy to greater heights and may his team and its programs finally achieve the elusive inclusive growth that critics have demanding from the current administration.*