Palace confident economy will reach growth target for 2019


Posted at May 10 2019 12:35 AM

MANILA - Now that the budget impasse has been resolved, Malacañang expressed confidence the Philippine economy will still reach the government target of 6 to 7 percent growth by the end of 2019.

The Philippine economy grew at its slowest pace in 4 years, missing forecasts, dragged by a delay in the enactment of the P3.7-trillion national budget, officials said Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte and the other members of the Cabinet have been informed of the country's economic situation.

"The economic momentum is on our side. The future looks bright despite the prophets of doom and the negative forces that try to mislead our countrymen into believing an opposite outlook, who however refuse to bite," Panelo said in a statement.

Gross domestic product grew 5.6 percent in the first quarter, from 6.3 percent in the October to December period. The median of a Bloomberg poll predicted 6 percent growth while a Reuters survey placed it at 6.1 percent.

Growth would have accelerated to 6.6 percent had the country operated on the 2019 budget at the start of the year, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

"As we had forewarned repeatedly, the reenacted budget would sharply slow the pace of economic growth," Pernia said.

It was the slowest growth in 16 quarters, since the 5.1-percent expansion in the first quarter of 2015, he said, adding the government must "really catch up and work very hard" to meet its growth target for the year.