The Philippine economy showed no signs of lagging as its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hits 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2016, which is higher than the 6.5 percent GDP in 2015.
The rate of the country’s GDP is the strongest for two and a half years, and the highest since the second quarter of 2013, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) data showed.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said this economy has been the fastest in Asia since 1978, surpassing neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and China.
"The running 6-year growth average of 6.2 percent is our fastest streak since 1978, which when compared to the 3.8 percent average from 1995-2010 reflects how much we have improved our structural growth capacity," Rappler reported Purisima as saying.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Emmanuel Esguerra said that the 2010-2016 economic growth is the highest recorded by a country. Esguerra added that the economic growth was investment- driven on the demand side.
The impressive GDP rate was attributed to the Services Sector, which accelerated from 2015’s 5.5 percent to 7.9 percent. The Industry Sector also grew from 5.3 percent last year to 8.7 percent this year.
Esguerra said the Industry Sector’s growth is the highest in five consecutive quarters, supported by construction, utilities and manufacturing.
"The strength of both the industry and services sectors once again shows the ongoing structural transformation taking place in our economy, which is crucial for sustaining economic growth and generating quality jobs," Esguerra explained.
Construction grew faster at 12 percent from the 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2015 and 7.6 percent in the last quarter of 2015.
Meanwhile, import of goods is up 15.9 percent, which Esguerra said is mainly due to the "increased purchases of capital goods." This indicates that firms are investing.
While significant economic increases took place in those sectors, the NEDA chief pointed out the decline of the Agriculture sector by 4.4 percent.
According to Esguerra, extreme weather conditions like El Nino, hampered the Agricultural growth in the past two quarters.
In order to remain robust, the NEDA chief emphasized the viability of public spending on infrastructure, specifically on the logistics and transport sector. He believes that improving these sectors, especially handling and storage methods, will create a more cost-efficient movement of products and services in the country’s regions.
Esguerra also added that research and development as well as modernization of technology will provide the government the means to become resilient in times of calamity.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were both optimistic that the Philippine economy will remain robust. They expect the Philippine GDP to continue growing faster than its neighboring Asian countries at 6 percent in 2016 and 6.2 percent in 2017. The 2016 economy is targeted to improve by 6.8 to 7.8 percent.