MANILA – Malacañang has expressed confidence that the target gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for 2019 will be achieved.
“President Rodrigo Duterte and the Cabinet have been thoroughly briefed and apprised by our economic managers on the situation, and the Palace therefore remains confident that we will still reach our full-year 2019 economic target of 6 (percent) to 7 percent,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
The Philippine economy expanded by 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019, slower than the 6.5 percent growth recorded during the same period last year.
“The economic momentum is on our side. The future looks bright despite the prophets of doom and the negative forces that try to mislead our countrymen into believing an opposite outlook, who however refuse to bite,” he said.
Panelo said the slowdown in the recent first-quarter GDP growth figures was due to the 2019 budget impasse between the houses of Congress.
“The 5.6 percent GDP growth that registered in the first quarter of 2019 was caused by the budget impasse, which has now been resolved, as well by a nearly flat agriculture output posting 0.8 percent, which contributes about a tenth to GDP, as a result of the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon,” he said.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential legal counsel, said issues resulting from the delay in the passage of the budget are “now a thing of the past.”
“The delay in our infrastructure program because of the budget deadlock during the first quarter is now a thing of the past. Soaring inflation has been decisively addressed. We expect higher growth in the next few quarters as the ‘Build Build Build’ Infrastructure Program starts to gather steam and domestic consumption, as a result of deflation, starts to pick up,” he said. (PNA)