Abad: Gov't to keep economic growth targets

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2010 12:50 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2010 08:50 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Tuesday said the government is unlikely to revise its economic growth targets for this year and the next.

Abad said the government is keeping its forecasts for the economy conservative due to the prevailing volatility and the risk brought by more weather disturbances before the year ends.

“I don’t think so. We will proceed with the targets as we set them. With only less than 3 months to go, we have always taken a very conservative position on these things. If it goes beyond our target then so much the better," Abad told reporters.

"It's better to take the side of prudence than be very risky. You cannot predict what will happen next year. Well for one, this so-called currency war, you cannot predict where it will lead. We still expect some weather disturbances in remaining 2 months. In fact, they said at least 6 typhoons," he added.

Abad indicated the government is confident that credit rating agencies will give the Philippines favorable ratings when they evaluate next month.

“They are expected to come this November pa… We're hoping that after our performance this year, plus the fact this is a new government... We expect that within the year.”

Abad, meanwhile, said the government has already replenished the funds of agencies responding to natural disasters. He added that if needed, more funds could be easily tapped.

“The more urgent task is the rehabilitation that will carry over into the next year. As early as 3 to 4 months ago, we replenished by P1.75 billion. The departments have quick response funds and certain departments like Department of Education and Department of Public Works and Highways can have provisions.”