The 7.4-percent economic growth registered by the Philippines in the second quarter of 2022 is no mean feat.
The economy expanded despite soaring inflation rate, the disruption in the global supply chain caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the lingering pandemic.
Some would argue that the economic growth slowed from the more robust 8.2-percent expansion in the first quarter of the year.
That might be true but the lower gross domestic product growth figure in the second quarter came from a high base in the same quarter last year. The economy grew at a faster rate of 12.1 percent during the comparative period in 2021.
The Philippine economy actually fared well amid the headwinds buffeting Asia and the rest of the world.
The nation’s GDP growth was the second fastest in this corner of the world, next to Vietnam’s 7.7 percent. It was faster than Indonesia’s 5.4 percent and China’s 0.4 percent.
Elections spending and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions greatly contributed to increased economic activities in the second quarter.
Lowering the COVID-19 alert level status allowed more Filipinos to go out, dine in restaurants and travel to tourism spots.
Living with the virus, as Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balicasan puts it, is possible and has led to a higher level of economic activity.
Fitch Solutions, a unit of international rating agency Fitch Group, is impressed with the economic performance of the Philippines.
It just raised its 2022 growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.6 percent from its previous estimate of 6.1 percent, taking into account the robust expansion in the first two quarters.
The Philippines could have expanded more in the second quarter if it reopened further the economy.
The resumption of face-to-face classes, for one, is certain to create more economic activities and job opportunities for the informal sector.
The easing of restrictions has also stabilized the unemployment rate at 6 percent in June. The joblessness level was the same a month ago but much lower than 7.7 percent in the same month last year.
The Philippine economy, it seems, is poised to expand further in the coming months given the strong performance in the second quarter. It has shown that it can grow despite COVID-19.
Authorities now should allow the economy to expand further by reducing the virus restrictions to a bare minimum.