By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras, October 15 2019; Business World

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A SENIOR legislator said Tuesday that economic growth of 6% can still be achieved given good weather to ensure progress on key construction projects, after the World Bank reduced its 2019 estimates for Philipine gross domestic product (GDP).

The World Bank last week cut its Philippine GDP growth forecast to 5.8% this year from the already-downgraded 6.4% forecast it gave in June. The government’s official target is 6-7%.

Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr., who represents Camarines Sur’s second district, is confident that the 6% growth rate “remains doable” given “relatively good weather” to support catch-up work in public sector construction.

“The 5.8% growth rate for the Philippines projected by the World Bank is still commendable, as this still makes our economy among the fastest-growing in Asia and the world,” Mr. Villafuerte said in a statement.

He noted that the House immediately approved the P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 after the nearly four-month delay in the 2019 budget’s approval was blamed for the growth slowdown.

“This was why under the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, he made sure that the House would work double time, sometimes for 10 hours straight during the plenary, on a five-day workweek, so that the proposed 2020 national budget could be passed in record time — without any pork, illegal insertions or parking of funds,” Mr. Villafuerte said.

Mr. Villafuerte said that the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) should discuss all the measures that Congress can work on in accelerating state spending, especially on infrastructure and human capital development.

“Perhaps we need to further expedite the implementation of ‘Build, Build, Build’ — given infrastructure development’s great multiplier effects on the economy — in order to boost growth in the last quarter,” said Mr. Villafuerte. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras