GDP growth still among fastest

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. (TMT image)

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday hailed the Philippine economy’s steady growth, saying that the 6.5 to 6.7 percent rate in 2018 is still one of the world’s fastest growth rates.

In a televised interview, Diokno is optimistic that the country’s economic growth will pick up to at least seven to eight percent in the years to come.

“You just trust your government. We are doing everything we can to make up for past neglect,” said Diokno.

To recall, economic growth had crawled to 6.1 percent in the July to September 2018 period, dragged by storm damage to crops. Official data for the succeeding quarter and the full year are due out on 24 January.

“The President is very much aware that it is agriculture that is dragging the economy,” said Diokno, adding that President Rodrigo Duterte had described agriculture as the “weakest link” in the economy.

Diokno recalled a recent meeting with the Duterte and Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Pinol, noting that the President was “putting pressure” on Pinol to aid the farm sector.

“Some P5 billion for seeds and farm implements were recently released to the Department of Agriculture,” Diokno said.