By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – The reported growth of the Philippine economy in 2022 is a “good start” for the Marcos administration, an economist said on Saturday.
Lawyer Franklin Quijano, chairperson of the National Commission of Senior Citizens and former economics professor at the San Carlos University in Cebu, said the 7.6-percent economic growth last year is a good indicator for the current administration’s performance benchmark.
“This is a good start,” Quijano said during the Saturday News Forum at the Dapo Restaurant in Quezon City, referring to the improvement in the Philippine economy in 2022.
“Looking at it positively, baka naman magandang pangitain itong 7.6 [percent] as a performance benchmark dahil itong administrasyon na ito (perhaps, this 7.6-percent growth is a good indicator for this administration’s performance benchmark because it) will have to perform well,” said.
Quijano, however, acknowledged that much remains to be done in the coming years for the current administration to sustain economic growth.
He cited that the occurrence of natural disasters has a “negative” economic implication, saying it is also a contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The government’s digital transformation bid and infrastructure development may help maintain the positive momentum of the Philippine economy, Quijano said.
He also proposed the utilization and proper management of natural resources to enable the Marcos administration to achieve its economic agenda.
“We have so much in mineral resources even under our seas kaya nga nakikipag-away ‘yung iba kasi maraming reserves doon sa ilalim (… the reason why other countries have competing claims with us). But we are not using this as a basis for developing our country,” he said.
“Ang asset ng Pilipinas, lalo sa ilalim ng lupa, hindi natin kinukuwenta. Therefore, kung ikuwenta natin ito (We do not measure the Philippines’ asset, particularly its natural resources. But if we measure it), it will have a big expansive opportunity not only in terms of real production but also in terms of money measures,” Quijano added.
Assistant National Statistician Vivian Ilarina, who also joined the forum, noted that the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is currently developing satellite accounts to allow the government to “see the stock of natural resources” in the country, including minerals, energy, and water.
“We are pursuing this. Importante ito (this vital), especially for the Philippines. Now, we are rich in natural resources, we need to account them,” Ilarina said. “Once you extract the gold and other minerals, then that becomes part of the GDP.”
To further boost the economy, Ilarina stressed the need for government agencies to implement policies, programs, and interventions based on the data collected by the PSA.
“It’s up for the other agencies like the Department of Agriculture to do their own interventions, programs basing from the data we are releasing,” Ilarina said.
We, in the PSA, collect the data, present them to everybody and it’s up for the users to really analyze them.”
The country’s 7.6-percent annual growth in 2022 exceeded the government’s 6.5 to 7.5 percent growth assumption for the year and the highest after the 8.8 percent in 1976, according to the PSA report.
On Friday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said his administration intends to attract more investments to sustain the growth momentum of the Philippine economy. (PNA)