Economy grows 5.5%
By Rose B. Palacio
Davao City (5 September) -- Philippine economy grew 5.5% as the gross domestic product increase in the second quarter this year, aided by a robust services sector and improved farm output. NEDA was expecting a range of 5.3% in the first half of the year in line with government estimates.
With this kind of growth, I think we are no longer among the laggards in Asia, said NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri adding that "we may not be growing as fast as India and China, but I don't think we're still the sick man of Asia."
"The domestic economy sustained its strong upturn in the second quarter led by agriculture and the resilient services sector", Secretary Neri said.
By sector, the growth came from the manufacturing sector which expanded 6.5 annually, services 5.7%, industrial output 4.5%, and farm sector 6.7%.
Gross national product, which includes remittances from Filipinos working overseas, expanded 6.6% year-on-year in the second quarter.
Exports in the second quarter surged 22.3% from a year earlier. However, government spending was weak due to the absence of a new budget. The government is using the same budget allocated for 2005 after the Senate shot down the executive department's budget proposal that was higher than last year's, budget.
`As a result, the government had been exercising restraint on expenditures, which had affected the flow of public funds into infrastructure.
Nonetheless, the full-year GDP growth target of 5.5-6.1% remains "well within our grasp" said Secretary Neri, despite slower expansion in the second quarter and potential risks posed by higher crude oil prices. (PIA-XI) [top]