Any reaction on the 7.6 percent GDP growth rate?
Well, that’s a very good news for us. That is actually a little higher than our estimates of 6.5 to 7.5 for the last quarter.
So that makes sense though because if the last piece of news we heard was the lowering of the unemployment rate and so that means that there is more economic activity and that is reflected now in the growth.
And even in agriculture, I’m very happy to say that there is a specific measure of the growth of the agricultural sector by 2.2 percent and so something is — that the economy is moving.
What we have to deal with again, the shocks that are coming from abroad. But within the Philippines, within our economy, I think we have made the right policy decisions, we have started to make the right initiatives and in certain cases we have had to intervene but we have a mix of interventions and non-intervention actions to alleviate the problems that we feel in the economy.
So we feel with those figures, with the lowering of the unemployment rate, the very high growth rate that we at least [entirely?] are headed in the right direction.
Once again, we are always very conscious of the inflation rate because this is — reflects the cost of living of ordinary people. So that is still of great concern to us. But we have created the jobs, we have started the growth and that will pull us out of the debt that — situation that we are in.
So little bit more good news, let’s hope it keeps coming.
Highlights of today?
Today started off very early with a roundtable meeting with some of the heads of the large conglomerates here in Cambodia. And I think we have lots of potential areas that we can further develop.
Some of them have already — have many interests already in the Philippines. They already — they also would like us to come into Cambodia, especially in terms of food, in terms of agriculture, as well.
So housing, we talked about everything. So that’s how we started off and I think it was a very productive meeting.
And the bilateral, the last bilateral meeting I had was with the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Hun Sen and we discussed at length Myanmar and the possible areas of agreement within the different member states in ASEAN including — up to and including the problems that we are feeling from the conflict in eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine.
The business meetings have also been very interesting to hear not only from our businessmen but from the businessmen from all the member countries.
There is again a very, very great many parallels. There are very great many parallels to the situation as they see it and as we see it.
So again, we’re happy that at least we had a productive meeting once again. And again it seems that we are focusing on the right areas, trying to do the right things.
The youth meeting — I actually asked our youngest governor to give the message which impressed very much the Prime Minster who was chairing the meeting.
And that we in the Philippines have a 24-year-old governor and that is something I wanted to show off, that people will say, we were talking about youth empowerment and I said: Well, the Philippines, we’re doing that because we have these young leaders who are ready to take up the cudgels for the country.
So there are — it has been productive. And there are two more days of this. And I think that the bilaterals are very — it is interesting to listen to the positions of the different countries on various issues which is what happens in the — what they call the interface meetings.
And the bilateral meetings also have become very important because that is where we actually do business with private corporations and other countries.
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