Duterte Fact Checks

MISSING CONTEXT: Philippine economy grows by 11.8%

Rappler
MISSING CONTEXT: Philippine economy grows by 11.8%
While it is true that the GDP posts an 11.8% growth in the second quarter of 2021, it should be noted that this is in comparison to the dismal -16.9% posted in the second quarter in 2020. Economists call this the 'base effect.'
At a glance
  • Claim: The Philippine economy grew by 11.8% in the second quarter of 2021, thanks to the excellent governance of the Rodrigo Duterte administration.
  • Rating: MISSING CONTEXT
  • The facts: While it is true that the Philippine economy posted an 11.8% growth in the second quarter of 2021, it should be noted that this was in comparison to the dismal -16.9% recorded in the second quarter of 2020. Economists call this the “base effect.”
  • Why we fact-checked this: A video containing this claim has over 6,000 views on YouTube, as of writing. It was posted by a channel that had repeatedly shared false information.
Complete details

YouTube channel “Robin Sweet Showbiz” uploaded a video on August 10 with the title: “PRRD SINAMPAL ANG ECONOMIC GROWTH SA MGA DILAWAN KAHIT SA GITNA NG PANDEMYA! DILAWAN PAHIYA!”

(President Rodrigo Duterte slapped the supporters of the opposition with the country’s economic growth despite the pandemic! Yellows, shamed!)

The narration of the video says: “Isang magandang balita! Dahil kahit nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya, umangat pa rin ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas. Sa kabila ng paninira at pambabatikos kay Pangulong Duterte, namayagpag pa rin ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas.

(Good news! Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, the Philippine economy still grew. Despite the detraction and criticisms against President Duterte, the Philippine economy still accelerated.)

The video has over 6,000 views on YouTube, as of writing.

This is missing context.

The 11.8% gross domestic product (GDP) growth was calculated by comparing the latest quarterly GDP figure to the recorded number from the same period in 2020.

While it is true that the Philippines recorded an 11.8% growth in the second quarter of 2021, it should be noted that this is in comparison to the dismal -16.9% recorded in the second quarter in 2020 that marked the start of the country’s recession. (FAST FACTS: What is recession?)

Economists call this the “base effect,” which financial website Investopedia says “can lead to a major distortion and possibly mistaken conclusions” if misunderstood.

Rappler columnist and economist JC Punongbayan said that the second-quarter growth for 2021 is a “mathematical illusion.”

Must Read

[ANALYSIS] 11.8% ‘growth’ ng ekonomiya? Ilusyon iyon

[ANALYSIS] 11.8% ‘growth’ ng ekonomiya? Ilusyon iyon

In a briefing on August 10, National Statistician Dennis Mapa also noted that GDP actually posted a negative quarter-on-quarter growth rate of -1.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis. Quarter-on-quarter growth is measured by calculating the change between the one fiscal quarter and the previous fiscal quarter.

Steven Cochrane, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics Asia Pacific region, also said in an interview on One News’ BusinessWorld Live on Wednesday, August 12, that they now expected the Philippine economy to grow “only about 4%” this year. This is lower than their earlier projection of 4.9%.

“There’s a long, long way to go to get a concerted [quarter on quarter] pattern of economic recovery. I just don’t see it happening yet,” One News quoted Cochrane as saying.

Meanwhile, the government economic team’s GDP growth target is between 6% and 7% for the entire 2021. It also aims to bring the country’s economy back to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.

YouTube channel “Robin Sweet Showbiz” has repeatedly uploaded videos containing false and misleading information. Here are some of Rappler’s fact checks on its content:

– Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.