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PIA Press Release

RP resiliency plan will help attain positive growth - Recto

60-80 percent gov't spending to help cushion effects of crisis in 1st sem

Davao City (27 February) -- Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph G. Recto in a press briefing said the country's economic resiliency plan (ERP) will help in attaining a positive growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the first semester of 2009.

"There could be a slowdown but I don't see negative growth. The ERP will help out in the first semester of the year. Without the ERP, the economy may grow by 2.5 percent but it can now grow on the higher end of the forecast, by 4.4 percent if government could do the 60 to 80 percent spending during the first half of the year," the NEDA Director General said.

One of the strategies of the ERP is to implement budget interventions which include the full and quick spending of the 2009 national government budget. Government agencies are expected to frontload resources by spending 60 to 80 percent or PhP84.3 to PhP112.3 billion of the productive portion of the 2009 budget during the first semester.

"Quick-disbursing high-impact projects include small, labor-intensive, community-scale infrastructure projects with high local value-added such as repair of irrigation systems, construction of farm-to-market roads and adding on asphalt overlays, among others," he said.

To date, the following agencies have committed to spend at least 60 percent of their spending program: Department of Public Works and Highways (PhP60 billion in the first semester), Department of Agriculture (PhP16 billion in the first quarter), Department of Transportation and Communications (PhP13 billion in the first semester) and Department of Education (PhP2.8 billion in the first quarter).

"I am confident that the Departments concerned will deliver their commitments," Recto said in a separate briefing by the Philippine economic team adding that local governments will play a larger role in implementing and monitoring the projects.

Meanwhile, Recto maintained that the Philippine economy will keep hold of its growth trajectory. "I think that the economy will grow faster in the third and fourth quarter of the year. There would be a slowdown, but not a contraction," he added.

He said that agriculture will support growth in the first two quarters of the year despite the slowdown in the industry sector. The agriculture sector is expected to grow from 3.0 to 3.6 percent in 2009.

"Agriculture will benefit because fertilizer costs are down by 50 percent. Industry will probably be slower because exports is down," he said. (NEDA/PIA XI) [top]

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