Ernesto M. Pernia
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia — PCOO.GOV.PH

SOCIOECONOMIC Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said he expects agriculture to weigh on third-quarter economic growth, which will nevertheless remain strong due to government spending on infrastructure.
“We always hope that it’s faster,” Mr. Pernia said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) data will be reported on Nov. 8.
According to the website of the “Build Build Build” infrastructure program, the spending target for infrastructure projects is P8-P9 trillion between 2017 and 2022.
GDP grew 6.6% and 6.0% in the first and second quarters, respectively, making for a 6.3% expansion in the first half, compared with 6.6% a year earlier.
Economic managers have noted that the economy needs to grow by at least 7.7% in the second half in order to hit the lower end of the government’s 7-8% target for 2018.
In 2017, GDP grew 6.5%, 6.6%, 7.3% and 6.5% in each of the year’s quarters.
Mr. Pernia also said “It’s hard to tell” if faster GDP growth for the third quarter will actually happen. He listed agriculture as one of the risk areas.
“The performance of agriculture in the third quarter given the typhoons we have now (might be a risk to GDP growth),” he said.
Last month, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that agriculture losses due to typhoons were estimated at P1.79 billion.
Mr. Pernia said 7-8% GDP growth remains the official government target.
“That is our target. It is good to set target high,” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez