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PHL is 3rd fastest growing economy in Asia

The Philippines remains one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Tuesday, citing results of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Philippines is the third fastest growing economy in Asia with a full-year GDP of 6.7 percent last year.

“This stable performance brings our full-year growth in 2017 to 6.7 percent—a strong finish that keeps our position as one of the fastest growing economies in Asia after China’s 6.9 and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent,” he said during a press briefing in Pasig City.

The economy grew by 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, driven mainly by the industry sector to lift the full-year growth to 6.7 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

In the third quarter of 2017, Pernia noted the Philippines was the second fastest-growing economy in Asia—next to Vietnam’s 7.5 percent and ahead of China’s 6.8 percent.

It was a “strong finish” last year following 6.9 percent in 2016—an election year, Pernia said.

“To me, this is a good performance, given the fact that it is already normal for post-election years to witness a decline in economic growth,” he said.

GDP is the value of goods and services produced by a country in a given period.

Placing a drag on the economy was the decline in business process outsourcing (BPO) as the industry was starting to “mature,” the Cabinet official noted.

“We must note that a major contributing factor to this decline was miscellaneous services, which includes the BPO industry—business processing outsourcing,” he said.

“We can take this as an indication that the current market profile of the BPO sector is ripe to move into higher value-added services,” added Pernia, who is also director general of NEDA.

While the BPO sector has already reached a plateau, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said.

“It's still growing, it’s still not contracting. Positive pa rin ang growth, but we are seeing medyo nagplaplateau na siya. It has already reached some steady state,” she said.

PSA data showed miscellaneous service activities— which includes the BPO sector—grew by 7.6 percent in 2017, compared with 8.6 percent in 2016.

“The way for it to grow much, much more is for it to diversify into higher value-added services," Edillon noted.

BPO workers must adapt to the technological advancements and train in big data analytics and artificial intelligence for this to be addressed, she said. —VDS, GMA News