MANILA - The economy can withstand the bird flu outbreak in a small farming town and the agriculture sector is expected to remain "buoyant," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Thursday.
Agriculture accounts for only a small portion of the economy, compared to services which contributes 58 percent, and industry, which accounts for 30 percent, Pernia told reporters.
Pernia also noted a 57-percent increase in acquisition of agricultural machinery in the second quarter, compared to a 51-percent contraction in the previous quarter.
"That's a major acquisition for agricultural equipment. We should see agriculture maintaining its buoyancy," he said.
Authorities have tightened quarantine procedures around San Luis town in Pampanga, where some 600,000 fowls were set for slaughter to halt the spread of the virus. The shipment of fowls outside Luzon was also temporarily banned.
Pernia said bird flu was unlikely to affect consumer prices.
"Consumers have become smart in substituting due to price increases in one commodity. They substitute lower priced commodities for higher priced ones. We don’t think, expect that to happen," he said when asked if the outbreak would spike inflation.