A Kuala Lumpur-based economist said the Philippines remains an economic powerhouse in Southeast Asia amid the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Juwai IQI chief economist Shan Saeed told the Philippine News Agency that the country’s demographics and the government’s efforts to keep its strong macroeconomic fundamentals helped the economy withstand the impacts of the global health crisis.
“At Juwai IQI, we strongly believe that Philippines remains an economic powerhouse and rising star in Asean region due to her vibrant economy, educated and productive youth, and above all, government is in total control of the economy to keep economic progression in order to benefit the masses at the macro level,” Saeed said in an email.
Saeed underscored the biggest advantages of the country, which include productive labor force, improving infrastructure, more foreign direct investments, as well as currency and market stability.
“(The) Philippine government looks totally committed to bring about economic and structural reforms to maintain macroeconomic stability for the country,” he added.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the unemployment rate in July – at the height of the community quarantine measures in the country – slowed down to 10 percent from 17.7 percent in April.
The domestic manufacturing’s performance has been improving since recording the lowest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) in March at 27.7, far from the 50-benchmark which means stable manufacturing sector.
Manufacturing PMI in August was at 47.3.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said he expects the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to improve in the third quarter compared to the 16.5-percent slump in the second quarter.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month signed into law the Bayanihan 2 measure that allocated P165 billion to fund projects and programs for economic recovery.
“It’s not easy but (the) government is trying its best under President Duterte who is working hard to put the country back on growth trajectory in order to attract investments, not only from foreigners but locals as well. Maintaining healthy GDP is the strong focus of the government at present,” Saeed said.
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