Good News! RP on the road to "next success story of Asia"
By Renee F. De Guzman
San Fernando City, La Union (4 September) -- The Philippines surprised many economic analysts and the Administration's critics when President Arroyo announced last week the outstanding 7.5 percent growth in our gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter this year higher than the target - the fastest in the past 20 years.
This is unprecedented in our whole history and what makes it more remarkable is that it comes after 26 straight quarters of growth.
Gross national product, which includes income from abroad, rose 8.3 percent for the second quarter from the year ago.
The President's tough decision to place higher premium on policy reforms despite the political risks has paid off. While it gave her low popularity ratings, her efforts yielded positive consequences for the country.
The Wall Street Journal Asia a Hongkong-based newspaper in its August 31 issue took cognizant of our economic turnaround and made it banner story titled "Comeback Trail for Philippine Economy, Harsh Remedies Paying Off". It said that the Philippines," the perpetual sick man of Asia" has been making an unexpected turnaround.
Written by James Hookway datelined Manila, the report said that "almost lost amid the international excitement about the growth of China, India and Vietnam - the Philippines has been rebounding."
"This year, the nation's economy is expected to post its fastest growth rate since the early l990's, despite the cost by the global credit squeeze sparked by problems in the U.S. mortgage."
"Foreign investors are coming back, attracted by the Philippines' young population - the average age of its 89 million people is 22-and the widespread use of English, a legacy of its past as an American colony. The call center business is thriving," Hookway reported.
The rosy economy outlook which was stronger than forecasts pushed the Philippine stocks to climb.
On the other hand, the various business organizations in the country both local and foreign hailed the latest economic growth as it lauded the administration for making good on its commitment to invest in and develop infrastructure and human capital which paved the way for the entry of more investors in the country.
Meanwhile, the United Nations in its latest midterm report on the Philippines Millenium Development Goals, bared that the number of people living in extreme poverty in the Philippines is decreasing with proportion of families below the poverty threshold falling, to 24.4 percent in July this year against 39.9 percent in l990.
The Philippines' Medium Development Goals are set of timebound targets for combating poverty, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, environmental degration and discrimination against women, and they consist of eight goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators covering the period l990 to 2015.
The UN report, to be released worldwide this October, says the Philippines' targets are "on track" and statistics point to economic gains having trickled down to the grassroots, belying the claim to the country of President Arroyo's detractors although more work is needed on the trickle down effect. (PIA La Union) [top]