Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: Or why De Quiros is a bit of a crank

In his two most recent op-ed pieces published successively in the Inquirer between Monday and Tuesday this week, Conrado De Quiros proves why his writing should be taken with a grain of salt.

Apologist

In Repetitions, Mr De Quiros talks of parallels between the two Aquino administrations and uses the argument that history may be repeating itself against those who despair at the current lackluster performance of PNoy in his freshman year. The implicit parallelism here is between the Marcos and Arroyo loyalists who claim that life deteriorated under their successors.

De Quiros uses a number of “lies, damned lies and statistics” in making his case. These fibs undermine his credibility. He states first of all that

(o)ne year after he came to power, the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) loyalists are out saying how things have gotten worse from GMA’s time. Proof of it is that unemployment is rife, prices are higher and the hungry are getting hungrier. And they have the figures to show it.
What they forget to say is that Gloria borrowed more than Tabako (President Fidel V. Ramos) and Erap (President Joseph Estrada) combined in the course of her long, vicious and illegitimate rule from January 2001 to May 2010 which did not keep prices from soaring anyway, and which debt has added immeasurably to an already gigantic one the people are paying during P-Noy’s time and will continue to pay well past P-Noy’s time.

Ok, let us subject the first part of the argument to the Truth-o-meter. What was the level of external debt during the presidencies of Messrs Ramos and Estrada in contrast to Madame Arroyo? The chart below is taken from World Bank data which is hosted on Google Data Explorer.

It shows that the total external debt stock in 1991 prior to the election of Pres Ramos stood at 32.5 billion current US dollars. In 2000, the year before Mrs Arroyo succeeded Mr Estrada in office it rose to 58.3 billion dollars. That is a jump of about 25.8 billion. In 2009, the year before Mrs Arroyo handed power to Mr Aquino, the total external debt stock was 62.9 billion dollars or an increase of a mere 4.6 billion!

So on point one, Mr De Quiros’s claim that GMA had borrowed more than Messrs Ramos and Estrada combined is not only untrue, it misses the truth by a longshot. The growth of debt during the latter was 5.6 times more than under the former.

Let us examine the second part of the argument about price inflation under the Arroyo administration. The chart below shows inflation from the same data source. I am afraid that again in this case, the data conflicts with De Quiros’s claim. It shows that under GMA, inflation was tame. The country experienced some of the lowest price rises that it experienced since the 1970s, much of this is a result of the economic reforms instituted since the mid-80s of course.

So on point two, once again Mr De Quiros is caught fiddling with the truth.

Moving on to the rest of his argument, De Quiros states that

The economy Gloria left to P-Noy is not a rundown restaurant that has been sold to a new owner who with unlimited funds can renovate it and open with the sign, “Under new management.” It is a horse that has been starved and flogged to near-death and bequeathed to an impoverished nephew by a good-for-nothing aunt upon her death. You cannot make that horse spring back to life overnight, especially when it’s all you can do to keep body and soul together. It will take a great deal of nursing to make it so. Along with a great deal of cursing the departed.

You can’t blame everything that is wrong with the economy on Gloria. But you can, and ought to, blame her for a great deal. The people of this country did not start getting unemployed during P-Noy’s time, they started getting unemployed during Gloria’s time. Hell, they started getting hungry—yet another statistic a few months ago said people had gotten hungry of late—during Gloria’s time, as a result of abandoning the farmers completely and relying on importations of rice. And stealing billions of bukols along with the rice.
Gloria is the cause, this is the effect.

So, to verify these claims, let us look first of all at the level of income during Mrs Arroyo’s presidency. The chart here shows that per capita incomes grew quite rapidly and consistently for the most part during her term from $899 in 2001 to $1,752 in 2009, an increase of about 95%.

In a comparable period from 1991 to 2001, GDP per capita only rose from $710 to $899 or an increase of a mere 27%. Again, it seems that calling the economy a rundown hand-me-down does not seem appropriate.

Well, you might say, De Quiros is really talking about the hardships suffered by the most marginal sectors of society getting worse under Mrs Arroyo. So, let us examine the income share of the poorest quintile of the population in the following chart.

We find here that the lowest 20% of the population had a 6.5% share of total income in 1988 and this dropped down to 5.36% in 1997 and remained steady at 5.37% in 2000. From there it rose to 5.6% in 2006 where the time series stops. So it seems that for the greater part of GMA’s term, the decline was arrested. The time series unfortunately ends there, right before the surge of rice importation.

As a sidebar, it is worth noting that the economic liberalization instituted since the mid-80s as prodded by the Washington Consensus may have moderated inflation but failed to provide protection to the most vulnerable. Mrs Arroyo’s rice program was also aimed at limiting the effects of price rises, but may have impacted the farming sector adversely. In that case, it was simply extending the existing policies further.

Revisionist

In Visions and Revisions, the second thesis of De Quiros is a stab at economic revisionism. His very first line exposes him to this charge:

P-noy isn’t making things worse, economically or otherwise, but he’s missing a lot of chances to make things better.

Unfortunately, the first quarter results say otherwise. The latest 4.9% GDP growth figure reported by the National Statistical Coordination Board, while nothing to sneeze at, was at the lower end of the expected range that analysts had predicted of between 4.8% and 5.6%. It was almost half the 8.4% growth registered in the same period of the previous year under Mrs Arroyo and a far cry from the government’s own target of 7-8% for the year. Given the recent tweaking of the way GDP is computed, the growth rate of 4.9% is actually higher than it would have been under the previous method.

PNoy tried to remain upbeat and blame the less than targeted performance on economic headwinds coming from conflicts in the Middle East and North African region as well as natural disasters closer to home. He also sought to paint a favorable picture by comparing it to the milder growth experienced by our ASEAN neighbors.

What he conveniently failed to mention was that the growth could have been higher had his government not contracted spending by 17%. Today’s banner headline of the Businessworld says it all, Underspending Curbs Growth. What this means is that the higher unemployment, hunger and poverty reported during the period is partly the government’s doing.

None other than Budget Sec Buth Abad confirmed that the first quarter was “not regular” in that government spending slowed as a result of project costings being reviewed. While he claims they can play catch up during the remainder of the year, Prof Ben Diokno, a former budget secretary, and Gov Joey Salceda, a former analyst and political advisor to Mrs Arroyo think otherwise.

Unfortunately, not only is “PNoy missing a lot of chances to make things better”, he is also “making things worse, economically”. No amount of economic revisionism can change that fact.

In bolstering his claims, Mr De Quiros needs to steer away from using spurious statistics. He has failed the truth-o-meter on all counts. Such flagrant misrepresentations do not aid his cause one bit. They merely expose the hollowness of his arguments.

Doy Santos aka The Cusp

Doy Santos is an international development consultant who shuttles between Australia and the Philippines. He maintains a blog called The Cusp: A discussion of new thinking, new schools of thought and fresh ideas on public policy (www.thecusponline.org) and tweets as @thecusponline. He holds a Master in Development Economics from the University of the Philippines and an MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

  • GDP is a bad indicator of a nation’s economic well being. Where is Debt in the equation? A nation could expand its GDP by expanding government spending, no collection, all borrowings. On an individual person, it’s a loan; if he spends it all buying a car and a house, he’s bankrupt. I think it should be: Debt+GDP=C+S+GS+I+(X-M) where C=consumption,S=Savings,GS=govt spending, I=Private Direct Investment, X=export,M=Import.
    What do you think?

    • GabbyD

      its not bad, merely incomplete.

    • ricelander, in the year 2000, the percentage of total debt (both domestic and foreign) to GNP was 60.8%, but by 2010, that ratio had gone down to 48.4%. That’s according to the Bureau of Treasury.

      So if you want to use national debt as an indicator of economic well-being, then it seems that although Mrs Arroyo borrowed a lot (in nominal terms, but in real terms, perhaps about the same as her predecessors), she also managed the economy well so that debt actually shrank as a percentage of the economy.

      FYI, I agree that GDP is incomplete, that is why we looked at inflation and equity indicators as well.

      • I am working on a theory that “I” (private direct investment) is the best indicator of economic health. When investors are betting heavily with actual investment in hundreds of billions, they must be smelling something we don’t. Or are they are staying idly on the sidelines or are they are closing shop?- these are the best gauges. You have an “I” on the upswing, good times are here. Sadly, it is going south.

  • Not all growths are good growths.

    Growth due to election spending is not good growth. It is a swelling.

    Growth in government spending that eventually induces sustained growth in private investment is good growth.

    Not all contractions are bad. Contraction due to cancellation of useless spending is good contraction.

    You tighten the screws to curb corruption, you slow down the process. You save in corruption but may lose in opportunity cost due to interminable delays and sometimes the project stops altogether.

    You want speed, give allowance for short cuts. But of course this is open to abuse.

    Good project implementors seek compromises just to proceed.

    You are better asking for the moon than for a government project that is speedy and completely clean.

    • “Growth due to election spending is not good growth. It is a swelling.”
      You could say election spending is the biggest conditional cash transfer program there is. And it is mostly privately funded. I am not saying it is good. I’m just saying.

      “Growth in government spending that eventually induces sustained growth in private investment is good growth.”

      Well that’s the kind of growth we did not see so far with this government. “Use it or lose it” seems to be Recto’s response, which is true. If govt cant utilize the funds Congress appropriates, then what’s the point?

      “You tighten the screws to curb corruption, you slow down the process. You save in corruption but may lose in opportunity cost due to interminable delays and sometimes the project stops altogether.”
      The government should have had sufficient time last year to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, since its budget was approved on time and hardly without much amendment.

      • UP nn grad

        The government, last year, was pre-occupied. Number one pre-occupation was goal-oriented — EO-1 to use the resources of BigGovernment to meet the campaign promise of “shaking the trees and looking under mattresses for evidence — Nail GuuuLLooo ORRyyYA to the wall”. Number two was deadly accidental — Quirino Grandstand. There was also number three — the fits and starts of On-The-Job-Training and not knowing whether to go For-or-Against for ReproHealth or to push Freedom-Information-Law. .

  • J_ag

    “(o)ne year after he came to power, the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) loyalists are out saying how things have gotten worse from GMA’s time. Proof of it is that unemployment is rife, prices are higher and the hungry are getting hungrier. And they have the figures to show it.
    What they forget to say is that Gloria borrowed more than Tabako (President Fidel V. Ramos) and Erap (President Joseph Estrada) combined in the course of her long, vicious and illegitimate rule from January 2001 to May 2010 which did not keep prices from soaring anyway, and which debt has added immeasurably to an already gigantic one the people are paying during P-Noy’s time and will continue to pay well past P-Noy’s time”

    TSK TSK the total debt stock of the RP (Sovereign)including domestic debt skyrocketed during GMA’s term. She borrowed more than Cory, Fidel and Erap combined.

    Why narrow it down to external debt. That is cheating in your standards for comparing.

    • GabbyD

      you look at external debt coz of the comparison between arroyo and marcos.

      where did u get the data for total debt? what are the numbers?

    • Dear J_AG,
      I used external indebtedness for two reasons:
      (1) our use of external borrowing is subject to currency risk, and so has more risk attached to it,
      (2) it shows our dependency on foreign capital to fund our development to have diminished.

      But even if we concede that total borrowing, including domestic, was higher under Mrs Arroyo, the main statement of De Quiros that the economy was in shambles and that inflation was galloping does not stack up.

  • J_ag

    “In a comparable period from 1991 to 2001, GDP per capita only rose from $710 to $899 or an increase of a mere 27%. Again, it seems that calling the economy a rundown hand-me-down does not seem appropriate.”

    “Well, you might say, De Quiros is really talking about the hardships suffered by the most marginal sectors of society getting worse under Mrs Arroyo. So, let us examine the income share of the poorest quintile of the population in the following chart.”

    This proves that our esteemed developmental economist does not know how to read figures.

    Be careful when you use GDP figures denominated in dollars in current terms.

    For the ignorant:

    In 1997 the Philippine peso went from Php 25 to over Php 50 per dollar.

    This is what happens to GDP denominated in nominal dollars.

    During the period 2001 till 2009 the reverse in exchange rate is true. The peso gained strength during that period.

    That is effect will show a higher GDP purely in nominal dollar terms.

    Our esteemed economist is probably from the GMA school of communication.

    If GDP is Php 8Trillion then the nominal GDP is $145B at Php 55 to $1.

    At Php50 to $1 it becomes $160B.

    At Php45 to $1 it becomes $177B.

    At Php40 to $1 it becomes $200B.

    At Php 35 to $1 it becomes $228B.

    At Php 25 to $1 it becomes $320

    • GabbyD

      exchange rates dont really matter qualitatively. the same message is given by GDP growth rates and real GDP. check NEDA.

    • On this point I think that I am really forced to take issue with you, J_AG, because the indicator I used for measuring equity is the percentage of total income shared by the poorest fifth of the population.

      So whether you are dealing with current dollars, yesterdays dollars, pesos, peanuts or shells it does not change the composition of the relationship between the income earned by the sub-group in relation to the nation at large.

      And fyi, it helps not to call your interlocutor “ignorant.” That is if you want them to pay your arguments close attention.

    • I also want to correct the notion that the peso’s appreciation or depreciation affected our external debt in dollar terms.

      When you borrow a dollar from abroad, at P25:$1, and the currency drops to P50:$1, you still owe a dollar. In peso terms your debt doubles, but in dollar terms, it stays the same.

      The fact that the WB uses current dollars is to compare apples with apples. A dollar in 1990 is worth more in today’s currency because of inflation, but remember, the ratio: 5.6:1. That’s the ratio of external debt stock increase during Ramos/Erap compared with GMA. Even if you deflate the pre-2000 borrowings and use nominal dollars, I don’t think it will even become 1:1.

  • Thai anton

    Pnoy please reminder, it takes money to make money,no public spending
    No growth,no growth no JOBS.

    • Cocoy

      I think the president understands this. Why else put it under the Government’s development plan that no new initiative will be approved without corresponding revenue attached to it?

  • Thai anton

    Doy, I think your numbers matches what CIA Factbook says..

  • KG

    Doy May I ask for your comment that per Former Neda planning director the government is overly cautious in spending amid anti corruption drive.
    Thanks.

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/business/05/30/11/govt-overly-cautious-spending-amid-anti-corruption-drive

    • “Overly cautious”: now there’s a euphemism if ever there was one! I agree with the interviewee who some might say would be biased because he served under Mrs Arroyo although he was really quite diplomatic and fair to PNoy.

      I have been saying here for quite some time that PNoy has been “playing it too safe” and that it has not been paying off. First with the RH bill where he hedged his bets and vacillated too much. Second in his aiming for the low lying fruit of reforms. Now with fiscal management, despite an early approval by Congress, his admin has held back.

      I hate to say it, but East Timor comes to mind because after their huge windfall from mining royalties which boosted their coffers, the government did not have the capacity to spend it even though their people were desperately in need of public goods and services. It is almost as if we have taken a step back here.

      By pursuing the Good Governance agenda to the detriment of Economic Growth and Development, I fear they will cause people’s trust and satisfaction to crash through the floor and could make future reforms all that harder to achieve.

      • manuelbuencamino

        “By pursuing the Good Governance agenda to the detriment of Economic Growth and Development,”

        The reverse of that would be: By pursuing Economic Growth and Development to the detriment of Good Governance.

        First, they are not mutually exclusive.

        Second, Good Governance is a prerequisite of Economic Growth and Development.

        Third, Economic Growth and Development becomes sustainable only when you have Good Governance.

        Like I said before, first you do due diligence. And after, you start correcting what needs to be corrected. Finally, you go full speed ahead.

        Prudence is not always a bad thing.

        • Cocoy

          Do you think that things will be much better if the president explained that all of this is part of the plan? that we ought to expect a lot of pain?

          • Cocoy, I don’t think this was their intention to begin with. That’s the problem. I don’t think they had a plan to start with.

        • MB, I think the government is thinking like you, that good governance needs to be attended to first before growth.
          I think it was counterproductive though for them to halt projects the way they did. It will not win support for their good governance agenda. Wait and see!
          All I am saying is that there is a smarter way to promote their agenda without tripping up our growth momentum.

          • manuelbuencamino

            “All I am saying is that there is a smarter way to promote their agenda without tripping up our growth momentum.”

            Please share

          • Sa susunod.

          • manuelbuencamino

            can you do an analysis of the recently published philippine development program?

          • UP nn grad

            to manuelB: if you read the plan, what will leap at you is how much outsiders are doing the pushing. Pilipinas is being pushed, Pilipinas is not leading. The plan is need-driven, not goal-driven. The need — to meet Millenium Development Goals — like building more facilities in rural Pilipinas where poverty is most endemic.

          • manuelbuencamino

            The Millenium Development GOALS.

            Is the MDG a bad goal?

            If it is a good goal, don’t you think we need to reach them?

            Don’t you think trying to attain the MDG is not a goal?

          • UP nn grad

            need-driven — a population that meets bare-bones like proximity to safe drinking water.

            goal-driven — like per-capita income to at least be equal to Thailand’s.

          • UP nn grad

            I remember that GMA’s goal included “First World Status”, then focused on RORO and the trans-Philippines highway to facilitate trade and commerce ( while neglecting flood control — hello, Ondoy!!).

            GMA definitely showed her desire to be on the good side of the CBCP and the Pope — hence her non wishy-washy stance against Repro-Health and her stance against capital punishment, plus populism — 4P’s as an economic engine, pulling troops out of Iraq.

            And GMA and Noynoy are alike — Noynoy with EO-1 witchhunt against GMA and GMA with MOA-AD — both getting told NO!”-you-naughty-presidents-you– that’s unconstitutional!!” by the supreme court.

          • manuelbuencamino

            UP

            Goal driven like meeting the Millenium Development Goals.

            But I agree with you. Gloria Arroyo was the greatest thing that ever happened to this country. Nothing will ever equal her achievements, nobody will ever be as great. There are a lot more good things I can say about her but the nurse is calling me for my electric shock treatments.

          • GabbyD

            i too am curious as to what this smarter way might be.

          • UP nn grad

            In my opinion, the smarter way is to release funds already approved in the budget — on schedule. The money-velocity is needed by the economy (Keynes). Due diligence has been done during the budget-creation process (unless, of course, Malacanang says igi-diyots-and crooks these Congressmen who approved the budgets, igi-diyots the Executive-department people who created the budget).

            What Malacanang is also admitting is that once the money is released, there is an idiot-of a Malacanang/Department-of-Justice mechanism to find the graft and corruption. D-O-J/BIR can’t find the leakage is Malacanang admission.

      • KG

        Doy Thanks. Playing it safe too much may be bad.
        Good comment too from MB.
        Due diligence first then full speed ahead.
        Let us see if it will be full speed ahead ala diesel run engine or a failure to even start because due diligence becomes overdue diligence.

  • Bert

    Now this political stories and analysis, and comparisons, are getting more amazing every time, and getting hilarious, too.

    Imagine the GMA administration, with all such beautiful statistics cited by Doy on the economy and the GDP and inflation, too, and all that, then the people was giving Gloria during her time and her administration a negative, repeat NEGATIVE, 139% negative approval and popularity ratings and imagine too Noynoy’s dismal performance and the people giving Noynoy high positive approval ratings.

    Something is wrong somewhere in the story, or, something is wrong with the Filipino people though I tend to agree with the people so maybe something is wrong with me, heheehehehe.

    • UP nn grad

      GlorrrrRR-YYAAAA… huge failure.
      FVR??? Same-oh, same-oh.
      Erap? Don’t even ask.

      Job-creation by these three presidents — total failure.

      Government spending contraction by Noynoy (so he gains on budget deficit and stay loyal to his promise – No New Taxes – to Makati Business Club) — this will result in him becoming just another same-oh same-oh FAILURE as a Philippine presidents.

      Unless maganda na ang tayo mo dahil matatag na ang suweldo at ang trabaho mo at iyong mga kamag-anak.

      • UP nn grad

        Oh, wait… okay pala nuon… The chart here shows that per capita incomes grew quite rapidly and consistently for the most part during her term from $899 in 2001 to $1,752 in 2009, an increase of about 95%. 95%!!! Pasadong-pasado, di ba bert???

        Bert…. anon ang palagay mo, madadaig ba ni Noynoy si Guuu-LLLL0000??? Can Presi-Noynoy at least do a 65% increase (GulllLL00 did 95%) in per-capita income of 50% by 2016?

        • Bert

          Ewan ko ba, UP n, kung ano ang naamoy ni Doy kay Glorrrr-YYAAA at meron pa siyang drawing ng mga statistics kung bakit mabango raw si Glorrrr-YAAA at ang administration niya, eh, ang mga taong-bayan ay wala namang naaamoy. Ano sa palagay mo, UP n, sino kaya ang baligtad ang ilong? Ikaw ba, UP n, ayos ba ang ilong mo?

          Palagay mo, UP n, naaamoy kaya ni Doy kung ano ang naaamoy ng mga taong-bayan noong panahon ni Glorrrr-YAAAA? Grabe na ito.

          • UP nn grad

            ang malaking problema ay ito.

            Kung hahanapin ni ManuelB kung gawa-gawa lang ni Doy iyong mga statistics at numero, medyo papaltos.

            Hindi chuchuwa si Doy. Hindi siya chuuchuwa ni P’noy, hindi siya chuchuwa ni GMA, hindi siya chuchuwa ni FVR. May pinanggalingan ang mga numero.

            Pero si deQuiros, sa ngayon, ayan… si deQuiros ang chuchuwa ni Persi-Noynoy. [Para bang si Ellen Tordesillas, chuchuwa bilib-na-bilib kay Trillanes…] si deQuiros, bilib na bilib kay Presi-Noynoy sa ngayon kaya nga ba “…who needs facts when deQuiros already knows the truth?”

          • Bert

            Hehehe, UP n, mukhang mapapahiya ka sa sinabi mong iyan. May kutob ako na kung maurirat lang si ManuelB at kapag nabasa niya ang mga commento ni J_ag at ricelander hayun nasa itaas natin tungkol sa mga numero at iba pang pinauusapan dito at itanong ni ManuelB kay Doy kung alin talaga ang tamang numero, may kutob akong medyo papaltos si Doy. Ewan ko lang.

          • Bert

            Ngayon, UP n, kung papaltos si Doy tungkol sa numero, aba, kung tinawag nating chuchuwa ni Noynoy si de Quiroz at chuchuwa ni Trillanes si ellen Tordesillas eh, ano sa palagay mo, hindi kaya sinadya na nagkamali si Doy sa kanyang mga numero?

          • UP nn grad

            bert: napakadaling sumbatan si GMA. SWS / Pulse surveys, asar na asar ang Pinoy-sa-Pilipinas kay GuuLLLL-OORRyyyAAA. Ang madaling sumbat, bakit ang per-capita income ng Pilipinas ng umalis siya ay mas mababa kaysa Thailand at Malaysia?

            Ang abangan ay sa 2016. Imposible ata na sa 2016, mapantasan ng Pilipinas ang Thailand. Imposibleng imposibleng imposible. At kung per-capita income ng Vietnam ay mas mataas pa sa Pilipinas pag tuntong ng 2016, kahihiya ang Pilipinas at si Persi-Noynoy…. lalo na naman napagiwanan ng mga kapitbahay ang Pilipinas.

  • GabbyD

    you should send this to inquirer, other newspapers. so he can respond.

    • Cocoy

      send the what Gabby?

      • GabbyD

        this article/analysis/debunking of de quiros’ column.

        someone should push back against mis-information. i dont know how receptive inquirer is RE its letters section. it should publish it tho, as its about one of its columnists.

        i think this is a simple case of de quiros being wrong, and the paper should man up and just admit it.

        • UP nn grad

          gabbyD: If the Inquirer were to spank deQuiros for his opiniions, that would be called suppression of freedom-of-information.

          Oh… wait… wala pa palang Freedom-of-Information law sa Pilipinas… Presi-Noynoy??? Where-est arts daw, presi-Noynoy?? Campaign promise, di ba?

  • Cocoy

    I agree with you on the point that GDP did contract in 2011 because Government didn’t spend. I’d also like to point out that 2010 was an election year and that billions were spent, and that should be a factor as to why the economy grew rather well during that quarter.

    My impression of the Aquino economic policy is not to spend or to spend only what it can afford to.

    But my question is this: Can government today spend at GDP rates? and can it get the private sector to spend at that rate?

    • GDP did not contract in Q1 2011, let’s be clear. I think you meant that GDP did not grow as fast as it should have under normal circumstances. In that sense, the “do nothing” or “steady as you go” scenario would have led to a better result.

      In answer to your question, the government planned to increase its spending by a mere 1.9%. That meant that to achieve 7-8% for the whole economy, private sector spending had to pick up the slack.

      It did to a certain extent (manufacturing grew by 8.6%, mining by 18.6%) but it could not counteract the contraction of 17.2% by the government which accounts for about 20% of the economy. And because government funded projects often have a very high labor concentration, I have a feeling that the contraction would have hit the informal sector quite hard.

      • Cocoy

        Yes, my apologies. I meant that GDP did not grow as fast as it should have been.

        *nods* to the rest of your comment.

      • UP nn grad

        doy: this “…which sector gets impacted?” explains a lot of the disinterest in the slowdown in Pilipinas economy. In other words, those with steady incomes from call-center or from working at banks or internet stuff…. they are not “… the informal sector”, so medyo “… puwede pa iyan” about the 55%-drop in farm-to-market projects or the postponement of other rural projects.

        Sometime this month, there will be news about BIR-pursuit of Mikey or other Guu-LLLOOOO BFF’s will be on the air to keep the entertainment-factor up para okay pa rin si Presi-Noynoy. Or maybe there will be news about the Ampatuan trials, now that will be interesting.

        • Cocoy

          I’m bearish on the Ampatuan trials.