MANILA, Philippines – Only opposition members paint a negative picture of what is actually a robust Philippine economy, a Palace spokesperson said Thursday, February 2, referring to the slower but still a positive growth of 3.7% in 2011.
“Contrary to claims made by some members of the opposition, economic indicators show an improvement in general economic conditions,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement.
Valte cited the following indicators:
- Decline in self-rated poverty ratings
- Upward trajectory of economic growth based on 4th quarter figures that are higher than 2nd and 3rd quarter figures
- Lower unemployment rates
- Higher infrastructure spending
- Record-high stock market levels
“All of these indicate that, while we expect this year to be challenging due to the global economic environment, the business environment is improving, and policies toward promoting equitable growth are taking effect,” Valte said.
A contextualized view of some indicators, however, also depicts negative aspects or points for improvement.
Unemployment, for example, decreased with the government having surpassed its target to create a million jobs in 2011. But a higher number of Filipinos also entered the workforce last year, canceling out the government’s employment gains by at least 746,000.
Regarding the decline in self-rated poverty ratings, the Palace itself had admitted that this is not enough. “This is a problem that cannot be solved overnight and we recognize the fact that we need to continue pressing on these programs to make sure that (the help) goes down to those who truly need it,” Valte earlier said.
President Benigno Aquino III’s economic policy, tagged as “Aquinomics,” is anchored on good governance. The prioritization of basic governance checks, however, has delayed key infrastructure projects.
The good governance theme of the Aquino administration has been a hit among foreign investors who have been looking at emerging markets, including the Philippines, as alternative investment destination after the former stable economies of US and Europe experienced financial and social shocks.
In an animated illustration, Rappler explains how a mix of external factors, bad weather, and the government’s overcautiousness resulted in the slower pace of 3.7% in 2011 from 7.6% in 2010.