STATEMENT OF NEDA SECRETARY ARSENIO M. BALISACAN  

ON THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
FOR THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2022

NOVEMBER 10, 2022

 

Colleagues in government, friends from the media, fellow Filipinos—

Good morning!

I am pleased to announce that the Philippine economy maintains its solid position and positive outlook as the government continues to shepherd it toward full recovery and inclusive economic transformation.

In this time of heightened global uncertainty and elevated consumer prices, this high-growth performance in the third quarter bodes well for our efforts to ensure quality job creation and poverty reduction to achieve inclusive growth. What we want is prosperity for all Filipinos.

Performance of the economy

As National Statistician Dennis Mapa mentioned, the Philippine economy accelerated to 7.6 percent in the third quarter of 2022. The third quarter’s GDP exceeded the median analyst forecast of 6.3 percent.

This turnout puts us second in growth in the ASEAN region, behind Vietnam’s 13.7 percent and in front of Indonesia’s 5.7 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted quarter-per-quarter basis, our economy grew by 2.9 percent, signifying our solid posture against current domestic and external risks.

With this, we are on track to achieving the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent for 2022. Given the latest GDP outturn, our economy needs to grow by 3.3 to 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

On the demand side, household consumption and investment were the main drivers of growth. This turnout signifies that Filipino families are close to returning to pre-pandemic life, as more people visit restaurants and hotels and engage in recreational activities within the country.

On the production side, all sectors sustained their expansion, mainly driven by the growth in the services and industry sectors. We also note the acceleration in the agriculture sector compared to the same period last year.

This economic performance largely benefitted from the further easing of mobility, including the resumption of face-to-face classes, which boosted consumption among Filipinos. The relaxation of border restrictions and more simplified travel protocols also supported the growth of local tourism and other sectors severely affected by the pandemic, leading to economic expansion in the third quarter.

The growth in these sectors brought by our collective efforts to jumpstart the economy runs in parallel with the rise in the country’s labor force. The unemployment rate significantly declined to 5 percent in September 2022 from 8.9 percent in the same period last year. The September 2022 rate is the lowest since January 2020, translating to a decrease of 1.8 million unemployed individuals.

I’d also like to highlight our education sector. After two years of intermittent distance learning during the pandemic, schools reopened for face-to-face classes last August. Such return is vital to preventing further productivity losses that can weaken our future workforce. With these socioeconomic gains, it is clear that the Philippines is on the road to fully recovering from the economic scarring brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While these developments are remarkable, I want to underscore that our nation still faces a considerable burden in the form of high inflation due to heightened external risks and the brunt of recent typhoons.

Let me reiterate, however, that achieving economic growth is a necessary but not sufficient condition to achieve our greater goal, which is to reinvigorate job creation and reduce poverty. And as stated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., this administration’s objective is to reduce poverty to single-digit levels, which requires managing inflation. With that said, let me now go over the government’s interventions to address inflation and poverty in our country.

Government interventions and recommendations

Ensuring that Filipino families have an adequate food supply is our top priority.

To stabilize the rising inflation and protect the purchasing power of Filipinos—especially the vulnerable sectors of the economy—the government is providing cash transfers, fuel discounts, and other forms of targeted assistance.

We are also considering the extension of Executive Order No. 171, which significantly reduces tariffs on rice, pork, and corn, thereby enhancing food security while food prices remain elevated.

We recognize that the more robust solution is to boost domestic agricultural production. We will do this through more investments in the food value chain and research and development to enhance farm productivity and improve the efficiency of postharvest processes. Getting government to facilitate private investments in marketing infrastructure, including storage, transport, and logistics, is crucial to achieving durable food security.

To sustain agricultural productivity and resilience, the government will continue implementing climate-adaptive technologies and further strengthen our value chains. For a much more disaster-resilient nation, the government focuses on climate change adaptation measures such as reforestation and coordinated flood or water management across local government units. We will ensure a timely response to address the damage inflicted by extreme weather events in the country.

Further, we present the country as a viable and sustainable destination to domestic and foreign investors. To support businesses, we are committed to creating a more enabling regulatory and investment climate. This commitment includes fully implementing landmark reforms such as the amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or the CREATE law.

Meanwhile, the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Build-Operate-Transfer law, which provides for amendments in critical areas such as project approval, disclosures, and government liabilities, are expected to make Public-Private Partnerships more efficient and transparent. These reforms will encourage more private sector engagement and can lead to job creation, improve the delivery of public services, and support infrastructure development.

Health is wealth; hence, the government is still intensifying its vaccination program to reduce the perceived remaining threat of COVID-19.

In addition, the government is boosting tourism through simplified travel protocols. This effort will pave the way for more tourist visits and easier return of overseas Filipinos in time for the holiday season.

The government is also expanding financial inclusion opportunities for the majority of Filipinos. We are expediting the implementation of the National ID in line with our thrust of digital transformation. We recently released the ePhilID, the digital version of the National ID, which is already a sufficient requirement for accessing financial and social protection services.

We are also intensifying our efforts to inform the public of the importance of managing personal finances. This week, for example, we at NEDA are spearheading the observance of the Economic and Financial Literacy Week in recognition of the country’s growth potential through financially literate people who make sound financial decisions, mobilize savings, and contribute ideas on improving economic and financial policies.

Concerning monetary policy, the government, through the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, is closely monitoring and implementing necessary actions to stabilize inflation against global headwinds and movements by other nations, particularly the United States, and their continuing tightening of fiscal policy.

All these interventions will be elaborated in the upcoming Philippine Development Plan for 2023 to 2028.

Conclusion

Once again, we want to reinvigorate job creation and reduce poverty by guiding the economy toward a high-growth path and developing a resilient, inclusive, and prosperous society.

This task is an arduous journey indeed. It is an understatement to say that the issues we face are complex. But we are determined.

There is no reason to lose hope. Our growth prospects are encouraging. The country is on track to meet the government’s growth target for the year.

As we collectively strive for a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat, improving the poor’s quality of life will be the center of our recovery and development strategy. We will continue to work together—and work hard—to turn this vision into a reality. And we assure you that no one will be left behind.

Thank you, and have a pleasant day to all!

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