News Release

Palace welcomes WB report naming PH as fastest growing economy in ASEAN

Malacañang on Thursday, January 11, welcomed the latest forecast of the World Bank (WB) citing the Philippines as the fastest growing economy among all Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announced in a Palace press briefing the WB’s Global Economic Prospects January 2018 Report, which highlighted the country’s notable economic growth.

Secretary Roque stressed that the Philippines will continue to be one of the top performing economies, especially with the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act that is expected to boost the government’s infrastructure spending.

“The big rollout of major infrastructure projects would result in a substantial increase in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2018,” he said.

The Spokesperson added that the timely implementation of big-ticket infrastructure programs under the Duterte administration would be critical in bringing down the cost of doing business in the country and in making Filipino exporters more competitive.

Meanwhile, the Palace official also welcomed a report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showing that the country’s foreign direct investments (FDI) net inflows increased to US$2 billion in October 2017 from October 2016’s US$670 million.

Further citing BSP’s report, Roque said FDI net inflows for the first ten months of 2017 grew from year-on-year by 20.5 percent to US$7.9 billion.

He noted that a significant portion of the equity capital placements were channeled to electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply activities.

Other sectors in the country that received investment inflows were manufacturing, construction, real estate, and wholesale and retail trade, Roque added.

Palace to await formal complaint vs. CHED Chair Licuanan

In line with the President’s promise to axe public officials engaged in excessive junkets, Roque said the Palace is waiting for a formal complaint to be filed against Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Patricia Licuanan with regard to her alleged foreign junkets.

“[I]t helps if a formal complaint is filed because in all instances where the President acted, there was a formal complaint. I do not know if there’s a formal complaint against Chairperson Licuanan. But I’m sure the President, because he reads the papers himself, knows about the trips,” Roque stressed.

He said a final decision will be made by the President once investigations have been conducted following the filing of a complaint.

For his part, Roque assured the public that the President will “lead by way of example” to other officials in government in terms of minimizing foreign trips.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Spokesperson responded to the call of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes for the Court of Appeals (CA) to cite him in indirect contempt for the statements Roque made in relation to the Ortega case.

Roque said he welcomes Reyes’ call as it would allow him to explain the role of the President as chief implementer of the law.

“Every crime is prosecuted by the Executive in the name of the people of the Philippines. Of course, it is the duty and obligation of the State to accord its citizens justice. I spoke in that capacity,” Roque clarified. ### PCO-Content