The Philippines will likely post better gross domestic product (GDP) growth this quarter as the economy becomes more investment-driven, the country's top economist said Wednesday. "We expect a faster pace this year and that the economy will become more investment-driven," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters in an ambush interview at the sidelines of the Philippine Economic Briefing. Balisacan, who is also National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General, noted that the key drivers of the economy will remain private and public spending as well as the services sector on the back of a robust tourism and business process outsourcing sector. "Consumption to continue fueling the expansion of the economy. We expect government spending, particularly infrastructure, as well as private investment will expand," he said. "Services will also fuel the economy and tourism and BPO to further strengthen," the chief economist noted. He, likewise, said "manufacturing pace will continue to gain momentum, coming from a good performance since the third quarter."
With a more robust manufacturing sector, Balisacan forecast that first quarter GDP growth will be faster than the 7.1 percent and 6.8 percent expansion posted in the third and fourth quarters respectively. The inter-agency, policy-setting Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has targeted GDP growth at 6 to 7 percent in 2013. Last year, the Philippine economy grew 6.6 percent, the fastest in Southeast Asia. — BM, GMA News