The Philippine economy is in good hands, believes Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former President and now Deputy Speaker of the House.
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo TMT PHOTO
Arroyo also said that before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was in a two-decade period of economic growth.
“Prior to the pandemic, we were in a sustained 20-year period of economic growth that spanned my presidency, that of President [Benigno ‘Noynoy’] aquino [3rd] and that of the President [Rodrigo] Duterte,” she told the Manila Times.
In that two-decade period, “poverty has been reduced from about 40 percent, which I inherited, to only about 16 percent [of the population] before the pandemic,” the former president said.
In his keynote speech at the 8th Annual Public Policy Conference held by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies on September 13, 2022, Minister of Socio-Economic Planning Arsenio Balisacan said that poverty has increased from 16.7 percent in 2018 to 18, 1 percent in 2021.
“The unprecedented magnitude of the health and economic crisis, coupled with challenges in policy response, caused such a spike,” Balisacan said.
Arroyo is confident that the country “will soon be back on track to fight national poverty.”
“President [Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’] Marcos Jr. has recruited an excellent economics team that many analysts say may be the best ever in terms of combined experience and skills. So I am confident that under President Marcos we will soon be back on track to address national poverty,” she said.
“Some are concerned about the increased national debt. But with prudent housekeeping, we can get through this. During my presidency, I inherited an even more severe sovereign debt problem, which peaked at 72 percent of GDP. So we implemented tax reforms like e-VAT, which paved the way for our sustained growth over the next 20 years.”
“During his tenure, President Duterte set the appropriate tone for our country, peace and order. Now President Marcos has again set the appropriate tone, national unity. So our economy is in good hands,” said Arroyo.
Michael Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said Sept. 13 that the country’s GDP could grow “by an average of at least” 6.5 percent to 7 percent for 2022, “but with some potential upside surprises, even above 7 Percent, Given the lower base/denominator as the economy opened wider in 2021 against some lockdowns, down from 5.7 per cent in 2021 would be reasonably expected.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Ricafort added, the country’s GDP growth was at least 6 percent from 2012 to 2019. This was “one of the fastest among relatively larger countries in the world, in part due to a demographic dividend/demographic sweet spot since 2015, when the majority of the country’s population became part of the working age.”
“Further reopening of the economy alongside increased/accelerated vaccination towards key vaccination milestones of civil protection and eventually herd immunity in the coming months [given recent and coming accelerated national vaccination programs to achieve these] would generally bode well for the country’s economic recovery prospects in the coming quarters/years,” he said.