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With 8.3% growth in Q1, PH GDP reaches pre-pandemic levels.

MANILA – The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 8.3% in the first quarter of 2022, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, as the economy was fully reopened, boosting consumer spending and corporate activity.

This is a big improvement over the previous year’s 3.8 percent decrease. In 2019, the GDP grew by 5.9% before the epidemic.

“Growth in the first quarter beat the median expert expectation of 6.7 percent, making the Philippines the fastest expanding economy in East Asia for the quarter,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said, reading a joint statement from the government’s economic managers.

Chua attributed the strong three-month economic growth to the economy’s full reopening, noting that nearly 70% of the economy was placed on Alert Level 1 by the end of March.

He added resuming face-to-face schooling is a “major piece missing” in rehabilitation, citing the learning loss and influence on the future productivity of children with restricted learning.

“Our excellent economic performance puts us on track to meet our 7 to 9% growth objective this year, but we will not rest on our laurels.” “We will continue to work hard to develop our internal economy in the face of increased external concerns like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China’s recession, and US monetary normalization,” Chua said.

Chua stated that the government has made steps to combat inflationary pressures caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which has resulted in rising oil and food prices.

To mitigate the impact of rising oil costs, he said the government continues to undertake various targeted subsidy schemes for public transportation and agriculture.

Chua, the head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said the Department of Energy is working with private oil companies to secure PHP1 to PHP4 per liter discounts for public transportation, while the Department of Agriculture is implementing a fuel subsidy program for 159,000 farmers and fishermen.

He believes that the future administration should “seriously consider the next set of tax reforms” in order to support the infrastructure program in particular.

“But the most important thing is to maintain this macro(economic) fiscal restraint, living within our means and, if necessary, boosting tax reforms to fund important infrastructure and human capital development investments.” So, I believe that is the top priority. That has been the policy for three administrations, and we hope and expect that it will continue to be so,” he continued.

Manufacturing, wholesale and retail commerce, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, 7.3 percent, and transportation and storage, 26.5 percent, were the primary contributors to the first-quarter increase, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Industry grew by 10.4 percent, services by 8.6 percent, and agriculture, forestry, and fisheries by 0.2 percent among the key economic sectors.

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