Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri on Thursday, January 26 welcomed the news of the Philippines’ latest gross domestic product (GDP) growth calling it as a “remarkable success” and credited the efforts of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s administration for such feat.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has reported a 7.2 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 and a 7.6 percent growth for the entire year, marking the country’s highest GDP growth in 46 years since recording an 8.8 percent growth in 1976.
“Our 7.6 percent GDP growth is a remarkable success, and is proof that our pandemic recovery efforts are working. COVID has been a long nightmare, but our move to slowly and surely reopen our borders and our businesses has paid off,” Zubiri said in a statement.
“We would not have seen this growth without the Marcos administration’s clear economic targets, and their strong push to sell the country as an investment hotspot,” the Senate leader added.
Zubiri said he hopes that the Philippines would be able to continue on an upward trajectory this 2023.
“And with the coordination between the Executive and the Legislative, we are committed to strengthening our economic measures and building on the gains that we have made so far,” the Senate chief added.
“We also need to keep supporting the sectors that are still slowly recovering from the pandemic, such as trade, tourism, and transport,” he pointed out.
But the challenge now, the Senate President said, is to prepare for the threat of a global recession.
“We need to make sure that our macroeconomic policies and fundamentals are kept in check to weather the possible effects of external headwinds that may come our way,” said Zubiri.
“And internally, we must work on cascading this GDP growth to the masses. For this growth to be a genuine triumph, it has to be felt in the lives of every Filipino, especially in terms of day-to-day expenses,” he emphasized.
Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance also welcomed the latest growth trajectory of the Philippine economy in the last three months of 2022.
But Angara said this clearly shows there is still much to be done to improve the country’s economy which has been brought down by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The better than expected whole year GDP for 2022 is a very welcome development. This clearly shows that the economy has bounced back after the historic slump brought about by the pandemic,” Angara said.
“A lot more that must be done to sustain the growth momentum. The 2022 growth data showed that it was buoyed by consumer spending. This is not ideal and sustainable,” the head of the Senate finance panel noted.
As far as he is concerned, Angara said prices of goods remain high. With this, coupled with the hit on household savings would have an impact on the spending in the first quarter of this year, 2023, he pointed out.
“We expect the administration to build on its gains and we, in Congress, will provide our support to its initiatives that will contribute to addressing inflation, creating jobs and pump priming the economy,” the senator said.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, on the other hand, downplayed the latest economic report, saying GDP and the other economic figures “are simply numbers to the majority of the our people.”
“What is more important is the distribution of the benefits of economic growth to the people especially the poor,” Pimentel said.
“The improved economy should lead to more taxes paid by the rich and then, we should use this increase in tax revenue to invest in our people’s education, skills, and welfare and to increase investments in relevant public infrastructure,” the minority chief further said.