Statement of the President: On economic growth in the 1st quarter of 2007
I am pleased to announce that the economy has shown rather strong growth in the first quarter of 2007. Gross domestic product or GDP grew by 6.9 percent, while gross national product or GNP grew by 6.6 percent. This is a great sign that we will meet our GDP growth target of 6.1 to 6.7 percent for 2007.
The strong growth performance and sustained gains on the fiscal front point to a stable macroeconomic environment. International creditors and investors have noticed this. Investments are pouring in, and they have pushed the stock market to an 80-year high. Robust exports, OFW inflows, outsourcing revenues, and tourism receipts are strengthening the peso. For all this, I congratulate my economic managers and the Filipino workforce here and abroad.
Years ago, we hovered along the growth band of 3 to 4 percent. Then we accelerated to growth of 5 to 6 percent in my second term. This latest figure may signal that we are knocking at the door of 7 percent growth in the years ahead. We need rapid growth to multiply jobs, to raise incomes, and to defeat poverty.
As head of the NEDA Board, the highest economic policy-making body, I will promote policies to sustain the growth surge. These include maintaining macroeconomic stability, improving the investment climate, sustaining agricultural modernization, and achieving peace and order. We will adhere to the spending program set by the Development Budget Coordinating Committee and will continue to work with Congress to pass important economic bills.
There is an urgent need to ensure that these gains will impact on the lives of the common Filipino. This is why your government is pursuing aggressive measures which include:
o Realigning the national budget to spend more on social services
o Improving the infrastructure network;
o Eliminating regulatory capture in the bureaucracy;
o Boosting and diversifying exports and expanding their markets;
o Raising agricultural productivity;
o Strengthening micro, small and medium-sized enterprises;
o Supporting mass housing;
o Protecting the environment, and
o Eradicating terrorism.
A lot must still be accomplished. Let us therefore be closely united, looking beyond our differences, and work together in the fight against poverty. With the aid of the Almighty God, we will be able to accomplish everything fruitfully. (OPS) (davaotoday.com)