By Filane Mikee Cervantes

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. presides over a Cabinet meeting at Malacañan Palace (File photo)

MANILA – An economist on Monday said the Philippine economy will continue to grow through the rest of the year with aggressive efforts of the Marcos administration to build a strong post-pandemic recovery.

At the Laging Handa public briefing, economist and University of the Fraser Valley Associate Professor Michael Batu said the Philippines’ macroeconomic fundamentals will remain strong as seen by the continued growth of the economy.

Batu said he is expecting the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP) by extension to increase, while the inflation rate is seen to take a dip this month.

“At nakikita ko rin na ang inflation is may evidence po na ang inflation po eh pababa na. Pero hindi po ako nagsasabi na 100 percent ay bababa ito ngayong Enero, pero may mga indicators na baka ngayong Enero, bababa na ito (I am seeing evidence that inflation is expected to drop. I’m not saying it’s 100 percent expected to decline, but there are indicators that it will take a dip this January),” Batu said.

He said the economy would likely grow further because of the reopening of other sectors as the country slowly emerges from the pandemic, noting that there are pockets of the local economy that are not 100 percent open.

“So makikita pa rin natin na makakatulong iyan, iyong pagrere-open na iyan noong mga pockets na iyan sa mga darating na buwan. So aasahan natin na iyong growth ay tataas pa rin (So we are seeing that this is helpful–the reopening of these pockets in the next months. So, we are expecting economic growth),” he said.

In terms of the exchange rate, Batu said there is evidence of improvement in foreign exchange, with the Philippine peso gaining strength over the US dollar.

In terms of petroleum prices, there is a slight downward movement in prices although fuel prices remain high, he said.

“Mayroon din akong nakikitang movement na although, mataas pa rin ang presyo ng langis kumpara noong nakaraang taon. Mayroon pa rin akong nakikitang movement na pababa na ito (I am seeing movement, although the fuel prices are still high compared to last year. I am noticing a downward movement of the prices),” he said.

Meanwhile, he hoped that President Marcos’ foreign trips could result in actual investments, which will be helpful to the economy this year.

He said the pledges turning into actual investments could result in job creation, which in turn, would benefit the entire economy.

“So, iyan iyong mga nakikita natin, in terms of macroeconomic fundamentals, it will remain strong at nakikita ko na dahil maganda ang pagpapatakbo ng ating ekonomiya, aasahan natin na tuloy-tuloy pa ring lalago ito sa taong 2023 (So that is what we are observing, in terms of macroeconomic fundamentals, it will remain strong. And since our economy is doing well, we are expecting more growth this 2023),” he said. (PNA)