“Economic growth rates offer a picture of a country’s trajectory, and growth is rarely a straight line. The Philippines under President Aquino’s leadership has consistently shown that we have changed our economic growth story to an upward and positive trajectory. The third quarter GDP growth of 5.3% puts the Philippine economy on a record of 11 straight quarters of above 5% growth and among the fastest growing economies in Asia, reflecting increasing resiliency as government seeks to improve spending and buttress against the effects of climate change and disasters. This makes for 63 straight quarters of positive growth since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and is in keeping with the 6% average quarterly growth rate in the Aquino administration.
“Our 5.3% growth highlights some challenges which we have the ability to address. Government spending can improve, and we have ample fiscal space to increase investments in our infrastructure and our people, through education, health, and social services.
“While consumption is still the traditional driver of growth in the Philippines, the bright spots include the robust growth of exports in the demand side, and construction, manufacturing, and mining in the supply side. This shows the continuing diversification of the Philippine economy.
“Industry is fast emerging as a main growth driver, with foreign direct investments rising to 59% as of end-August to US$4.3B compared to US$2.7B in the same period last year. The Philippines is also looking to ensure sustainability and minimize vulnerabilities due to disasters and climate change, as agricultural production cooled due to the typhoons that have ravaged the country this year.
“We are very confident that growth will further pick up as we strengthen our economic and good governance reforms in the tail-end of this administration. Ingredients for sustained growth remain abundant as the fundamentals of our economy remain sound. The current account is at a hefty surplus of 2.9% of GDP in the first half of the year, and the fiscal deficit is well below our ceiling, ensuring we have the necessary fiscal space to spend productively. We expect more solid foundations for growth as Congress approves our priority proposals on fiscal incentives rationalization and transparency, and amendments on the Build Operate Transfer Law and Foreign Investments Negative List.
“The drivers and elements of growth for the Philippines continue to fuel our momentum. We have a strong external position, and we maintain strong macroeconomic fundamentals that will ensure we will continue on our positive growth trajectory. We push on in our conviction that our reform agenda has been and will always be a force for inclusive and sustainable growth for an increasingly competitive Philippines