MANILA, Philippines – The third quarter growth of the economy by 7.1 percent was a good sign but it must be backed by adequate government policies to ensure the development and improvement of the people’s welfare, economist Solita Monsod said Thursday.
“It’s a good sign because all sectors experienced growth, agriculture went up, industry went up, services went up,” Monsod said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
“Growth is a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient for the development and improvement of the welfare of the people,” she said.
Monsod said the country’s wide gap between the rich and the poor will not be solved just by economic growth alone. “It must be solved by government policy,” she said.
Among the projects that she said the government was already doing in order to make sure that the poorest of the poor are not left behind was the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.
One important issue that the government must also address in order to further improve the economy, Monsod said, was the “crisis in education. She said that only 68 out of 100 students make it all the way through elementary.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is a measure of the country’s productivity. Educated people are more productive and thus can contribute more to the growth of the economy, Monsod said.
“What is important is for everybody to get a chance to contribute to that production. How can a person contribute if he cannot even read or write?” she said.
When asked about the Philippines being seen as the “roaring tiger of Asia,” Monsod said the country could not yet be considered that but it has the potential.
“The growth should be sustained” and it should not be just a one-time event, Monsod said.
Listen to Radyo Inquirer 990AM for the full interview.