The Philippines is one of the most dynamic emerging markets in the East Asia region, with sound economic fundamentals and a competitive workforce that is globally recognized. Growth in the Philippines has been on average about 5 percent since 2002, significantly higher than the rate achieved in the previous two decades.
Following robust 7.2 percent growth in 2013, growth moderated in 2014 to 6.1 percent. The moderation can be mainly attributed to the sharp deceleration of government consumption, the contraction in infrastructure spending, and weak agricultural production. The services sector—the main engine of growth—also slowed. Nevertheless, Philippine growth remains among the fastest when compared to the major economies in the East Asia region, trailing only China. In 2015, the economic growth is expected to rebound to about 6.5 percent, if the government fully utilizes its budget as planned and accelerates reforms.
The country has earned investment grade ratings from major credit rating agencies as a result of sound macroeconomic fundamentals characterized by sustained growth, low and stable inflation, and sound fiscal management. Moreover, robust remittances have provided a strong basis for currency stability and a healthy buildup of international reserves. The country currently enjoys a savings rate that exceeds investment, while its human resources continue to be in high demand around the world. With GDP growth having reached its potential, utilizing the country’s vast savings to fund much needed infrastructure will be required to sustain high growth in the following decades.
In recent years, the Philippines has proven itself resilient to food and fuel price hikes, the global financial crisis and recession, and the impact of typhoons and El Niño.
The country’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is generally on track in improving gender equality in basic education and reducing infant and child mortality. While the country is also making headway in combating tuberculosis, malaria and other major diseases, and in providing access to safe water, it needs to intensify efforts in reducing poverty, achieving universal primary education and in improving child and maternal health. It also needs to address the lack of good jobs among low-income earners, especially those from rural areas where many poor people reside.
To address these challenges and to achieve inclusive growth, the government is pursuing the following measures under its (2011-2016) updated Philippine Development Plan:
* Attain high and sustained economic growth that provides productive employment opportunities;
* Promote equal access to development opportunities through better education, primary health care and nutrition and other basic social services; equal access to infrastructure, credit, land, technology, and other productive inputs;
*Reduce the cost of doing business, consistent with upholding good governance and strong institutions to encourage competition; and
*Establish effective and responsive social safety nets to assist those who are less capable of participating in economic activities