The Philippine economy expanded 7.8 percent in the first quarter, the fastest pace since 2010 and outpacing China, led by growth in services and industry.
Officials said Thursday that the quarterly growth rate was the highest since reformist President Benigno Aquino III took office in 2010 on a promise to fight corruption and cut poverty. Aquino’s allies won majorities in both houses of Congress in elections early this month, making it possible for Aquino to push through with his legislative agenda in the remaining three years in power.
The Philippines has bucked a regional trend of slowing growth amid recession in Europe and a slow recovery in the United States. It expanded faster than Asian powerhouse China, where the economy unexpectedly slowed to 7.7 percent growth in the first quarter.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the Philippines hopes to achieve a target of 7 percent to 8 percent annual growth by 2016.
The fourth-quarter 2012 growth was revised from 6.8 percent to 7.1 percent. In 2012, the economy grew 6.8 percent.
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