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Claim: Under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration, the Philippines is surpassing other countries in economic growth – the first time in 38 years since the ouster of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim, posted on January 11, has 50,626 views and 4,400 likes from a channel known for disseminating dubious information about the Marcos government.
The video’s narrator claims, “Sa loob po ng mahigit tatlong dekada na nakalipas…Ngayon lang po ulit nangyari na ang Pilipinas ay nabalita na nangunguna ang ekonomiya sa maraming bansa.”
(In over three decades, it’s the first time it’s been reported that the Philippine economy is performing better than other countries.)
The channel cited a Business World article posted in October 2023 titled, “World Bank expects Philippine growth to be fastest in SE Asia.”
The facts: By the end of the elder Marcos’ regime, the Philippine economy suffered its worst postwar recession, becoming known as the “sick man of Asia.” The economy recovered under succeeding administrations, and – contrary to the video’s claim – the Philippines even became among the fastest-growing economies in Asia under the administrations of former presidents Benigno Aquino III and Rodrigo Duterte.
Under his term, Aquino implemented reforms that strengthened the country’s macroeconomic foundations, paving the way for a stable economy later inherited by his successor. While economic growth continued under Duterte, the Philippines missed its growth targets and recorded rising inflation and a heavy debt burden.
Fastest-growing economies: Under the Aquino administration, the economy grew for six straight years by an average of 6.2% yearly – the highest average GDP growth rate among the presidents since the 1950s. The country’s positive economic growth has led it to become one of Southeast Asia’s best-performing economies and among the fastest growing in Asia: in the first quarter of 2013, its 7.8% growth surpassed China’s 7.7%, and in the first quarter of 2016 the Philippines again pulled ahead of the regional giant.
Duterte inherited a growing economy, with the Philippines posting a 6.8% growth rate in 2016, outpacing both China and Vietnam. While the Philippines’ economic growth before the pandemic was still among the fastest in Asia, the economy shrank by 9.5 % in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Philippine economy on recovery: While the economy has grown under the current Marcos administration, analysts say much of the growth can be traced back to the country recovering from the economic slump due to the pandemic.
According to global financial consultant McKinsey & Company, the Philippines was the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia in the third quarter of 2023. Household expenditure, government spending, net exports, and investments contributed to the growth, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. (READ: [In This Economy] Something’s broken, and it’s hidden by ‘high’ economic growth)
For 2024, the World Bank said the Philippines’ economic growth is expected to be faster than in 2023, albeit at a lower pace of 5.8%. If realized, the Philippines would be the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia along with Cambodia.
However, this economic growth forecast falls short of the government’s target of 6.5% to 7.5%. Analysts have also flagged the slow decline in poverty incidence, high inflation, and a shortage of investments under the Marcos administration.
Rappler has already debunked false claims related to the Philippine economy under the elder Marcos:
- FALSE: PH economy got worse after Marcos was ousted
- Philippine economy was not the best in Asia during the Marcos administration
- Marcos years marked ‘golden age’ of PH economy? Look at the data
– Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com
Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.
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