By Cielito F. Habito
What propelled the economy in 2013? What hampered it? What will drive the economy in 2014, and what will dampen it? What do these imply, especially on how the benefits from economic growth are felt all around?
THE GOVERNMENT’S announcement last week that the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), expanded by 7.1 percent in the third quarter was indeed a pleasant surprise. The expectation of local and foreign economists and analysts was actually lower: anywhere between 3.9 and 5.4 percent.
THE ADMINISTRATION of President Aquino deserves praise for the credit-rating upgrade by Moody’s Investor Service, which brought the Philippines’ ratings from all three major international credit watchdogs to just a notch below investment grade. (Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s raised their own ratings for the Philippines earlier this year, citing encouraging economic developments.)
The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report cited in the news item titled “PH poverty reduction remains dismal, says UN” (Inquirer, 10/29/12) stated that “Of the seven MDGs, the country got failing grades in four—eradicating extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality and sustaining maternal health. . . On the other hand, it received favorable scores in gender equality, reducing tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS prevalence, and ensuring environmental sustainability.”
The economic growth figures released by the government last week validated the resilience of the Philippine economy in the face of global uncertainties.