“After recording strong growth in the last 2 years, Philippine economic growth decelerated to 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014. This was due to the aftermath of Yolanda, lower government spending, and continued monetary policy tightening,” said World Bank Lead Economist Rogier van den Brink during Philippine Economic Update August edition.
“For 2014 as a whole, growth projections are revised downwards from 6.6 to 6.4 percent for 2014 and from 6.9 to 6.7 percent for 2015.”
Despite the forecast downgrade, economic growth in the Philippines is still considered one of the fastest among major economies in the East Asia region, second to China.
World Bank’s lead economist also shared another good news. “After many years of slow poverty reduction, poverty incidence declined.., uplifting 2.5 million Filipinos from poverty.”
“Stronger job creation in the first half of 2014 suggests that faster poverty reduction is expected to continue.”
“For the first time in 7 decades, the country has managed to lower debt-to-GDP ratio below 50 percent from over 100 percent in 2003. This allowed the government to double social services spending in the last 4 years, with strong impact on poverty.”
However, van der Brink said that 25 million Filipinos are still below the poverty line. “We need to share growth and job opportunities to all Filipinos. It is high time to invest more in the poor.”
The economist assured that if these growth momentum is sustained poverty in the Philippines will be eradicated in one generation (30 years).