Another solid year of growth defying our expectations

By: John Carlo Tria

Recent news about the yearend growth of the Philippines shows that despite the lowering of growth for Asia, the country remains at 6%, better than our ASEAN peers do and higher than the region.

The Asian Development Bank is the latest institution to affirm this growth, a figure that has defied expectations.

In  Manila Bulletin report, Yasuyuki Sawada, ADB chief economist, said that while growth rates remained strong in developing Asian countries (those apart from East Asia like Japan, China and Korea and Singapore), the recent trade tensions have taken their toll on the region’s growth and pose the biggest risk to its longer-term economic outlook.

Regardless, for the Philippines, the uptick in infrastructure spending after a budget approval delay early in 2019 helped our growth recover and avoid a recession.

Unlike last year, Congress, including the Bicameral Conference committee has already approved our 2020 P4.1-trillion national budget for the president’s signature, which may hopefully come by the end of the year.

This bodes well for our growth in 2020. Continuous infrastructure and social sector spending will push growth especially in the countryside, which will also lead the way for private developments. Already, property developers in the Visayas and Mindanao are giving the go-ahead to start developing new projects that will further enable other investments.

The economic team did well to keep this growth up. High growth makes an economy attractive to investors. A high growth economy amid a region where growth has fallen slightly makes your economy even more attractive.

Even better, the lower poverty figures at 16.6% from about 23% and unemployment figures at 4.5% mean that the growth is becoming more inclusive, and as a result, sustainable in the medium term.

As I have written before, economic growth without poverty reduction and lower unemployment only benefits a few sectors, and cannot sustain year on year growth. It has to spread so that it can remain high. If it remains in the same areas and sectors, it tends to be flat at a certain point.


Whichever part of the political spectrum you are in, economic growth must be celebrated and promoted.

What this means for the regional economy in Region 6 is that there is a lot of opportunities for businesses to grow. The challenge for local business groups is that they will need to work together to gather more investments while the growth is high since we have landed on the radar of investors. No businessman wants to be left out of the growth.


Thank you Iloilo

My many thanks to the Local Enterprise Development Investment Promotion Center for having me at the Civil Society summit last November 28 in Iloilo City. Things are looking up for the city and region.