Philippines: Govt aims for ‘robust’ economy

FINANCE Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter of this year proves that the Philippine economy is moving steadily toward a robust resurgence and expansion.

In his keynote speech during the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines-San Miguel Corp. Economic Forum on Wednesday, Diokno said the three major sectors — agriculture (0.2 percent), industry (6.3 percent) and services (9.1 percent) — to the country’s economic growth. The country’s GDP expanded by 7.4 percent in the second quarter of this year.

“With the ongoing challenges of increasing international commodity prices and rising geopolitical risks, this is an impressive achievement,” he said.

Diokno underscored that the Philippines’ growth prospects are within the target band of 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year.

“We expect our economy to grow even faster at 6.5 to 8.0 percent from 2023 to 2028,” he said, adding that analysts consider these projections to be the highest among the Asean+3 region, which counts the members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and South Korea.

Furthermore, the Finance chief noted that investor confidence has “continued to pick up steam.”

“Last year, we reached record-high foreign direct investment inflows of $10.5 billion,” he said.

Foreign direct investments reached $4.2 billion in the first five months of this year, a 19-percent increase from last year.

And as of July 2022, the Philippines’ gross international reserves reached $98.8 trillion. Diokno said the current reserves are enough to pay for imports for 8.3 months.

“This gives us the confidence that we can pay for the goods and services we need from the rest of the world and that we can meet obligations denominated in foreign currency,” said Diokno.

He added that the country’s strong economic position rests on a favorable business environment, backed by the reopening of the economy, and the implementation of game-changing structural reforms.

While the numbers tell “a promising story,” Diokno assured that the government would not be complacent.

“We are committed to translating these bright prospects into reality for the Filipino people,” he said.