“We have overcome our country’s greatest economic and health challenges,” economic managers said in a joint statement after the government reported a stronger-than-expected economic expansion in the first quarter of the year despite the resurgence of COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The statement was issued by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and Budget OIC Tina Rose Marie Canda as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated to 8.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, making the Philippines the fastest growing economy in the East Asia Region.
The expansion was faster than the revised 7.8 percent growth in the fourth quarter of last year and a reversal of the 3.8 percent contraction recorded in the first quarter of 2021.
“The headwinds we faced were strong, but our quick rebound from the Omicron surge in January proved that we can live and deal with the virus. With our strengthened healthcare capacity and accelerated vaccination program, we were able to contain the surge and safely reopen the economy,” the economic managers said.
Growth in the first quarter of 2022 was broad based as most sectors rebounded from their contractions in the same period last year as the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces shifted gradually to Alert Level 1 in March after being upgraded to Alert Level 1 in January as COVID-19 infections hit daily records.
“Our strong economic performance moves us closer to achieving our growth target of seven to nine percent this year, but we will not rest on our laurels,” the officials added.
According to the economic managers, the government will continuously work hard to strengthen our domestic economy against heightened external risks such as the Russia- Ukraine conflict, China’s slowdown, and monetary normalization in the United States.
The officials added that managing inflation also remains one of the government’s top priorities.
“The Philippine economy is a strong and steady ship ready for whatever storms that might lie,” the economic managers concluded.