Jan 29, 2014 | Valerie Wong
The Philippines is enjoying one of the highest growth rates in Asia even in the light of severe natural disasters, a political case regarding a pork barrel scam implicating several senators, and a terrorist uprising (MNLF forces, to be exact) in Zamboanga. If anything, economic analysts can certainly credit the Filipino people and their resiliency in the face of challenges and tragedy when it comes to the Philippines' continued economic success. Growth of the Philippine GDP comes at a strong 7% to 7.5%, according to the projections of the First Metro Investment Corporation or FMIC.
As for the Philippine government, their target falls between 6.5% to 7.5% growth, which isn't far off from what the FMIC is predicting. Of course, there's a difference between aim and prediction, or intention and projection result. Regardless, things look promising for 2014 and it doesn't look like the Philippines was derailed too much by 2013's Typhoon Haiyan, the rebellion in Zamboanga, and the pork barrel scam in the Philippine Senate. It is a resilient country, forged by fire and the indomitable strength of its people. It's also the best-performing ASEAN country with its 7.4% GDP growth in a region filled with 3% to 5% growth.
The Ups and Downs of 2013 Showcase Philippine Resilience
The forecast of a 7% GDP growth rate is attainable, according to the government, even though the agricultural sector of the country took a hit and went down by 2% thanks to 2013 calamities that were happening left and right. Other boosting factors that will ensure continuous economic wealth for the Philippines include soft crude prices in Iran, China, and the U.S. as well as the economic recovery of Japan (after being devastated by calamities themselves) and also the U.S. (the longstanding economic recession after 2008's financial meltdown).
There's a caveat to all this, naturally; the rehabilitation efforts that move the economy is a double-edged blade that can damage it too. More to the point, if there's a delay in Haiyan-affected areas in terms of reconstruction, then naturally this will slow down efforts to jumpstart the Philippine economy, resulting in a lower-than-projected growth rate. That's where the risk lies. The longer it takes, the more expenses will come about with no immediate results, thus resulting in an economic deficit that will probably force analysts to recalculate projections in the second to fourth quarter of 2014. However, as it is, it's so far so good for the Philippine archipelago.
Typhoon Haiyan Will Become the Driving Force of the Philippine Economy
It's not an exaggeration to say the Philippines is the fastest growing ASEAN country out there, as evidenced by its growth rate during the first nine months of 2013. According to FMIC Chairman Francisco Sebastian, the fundamentals of the nation remain in place such that it could withstand volatilities, political unrest, and even natural disasters—the very Hand of God—yet still come out stronger than before after everything is said and done. Whether the difficulties are global or domestic, the Philippines will find a way to strive and succeed. This is certainly the case, thanks to Typhoon Haiyan and the reconstruction that lies ahead.
It certainly helps that billions of dollars were donated when it comes to relief efforts in the devastated regions like Tacloban. In fact, the economy's growth for 2014 will depend on how well these efforts go this year; it's the driving force that will define whether or not the 7% projection is widely optimistic or right on the dot. About $2.2 billion or P100 billion will be spent in rehabilitation work out of the projected $7.9 billion or P361 billion allotted budget that will last until 2016. The expectations for the Philippines' performance in the economic front are optimistic for 2014, according to the Metrobank Group's Investment Banking Arm.
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