Palace says if GDP falls further due to protection of environment, "so be it"
Malacanang said on Thursday if the Philippine economic growth further drops due to the government's policy to protect the environment, "so be it".
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a slower pace of 6 percent in the second quarter from a revised 6.6 percent in the first quarter.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, in a press conference on the national accounts, noted that second quarter growth slowed down due to "policy decisions undertaken" that were expected to promote sustainable and resilient development.
He referred to the temporary closure of Boracay Island for six months until October, the closure of several mining pits, and stricter enforcement regulations on aquaculture producers at Laguna Lake.
"If GDP will further fall because of the desire of the president to protect the environment, so be it. We’re investing in the future and not just in the present," Roque said in a press briefing.
He said the Duterte administration is not approaching policy purely on an economic and financial basis.
"The president, of course, will exercise the powers of the state known as police powers to protect also the environment; and he has given further priority?higher priority to the protection of the environment ? and he makes no apologies for it," Roque explained.
The spokesman admitted the Palace was "saddened by the fact that we failed to meet targets by targets."
He, however, vowed that the administration would do everything to meet the targets.
"We'll find out why and we'll try to achieve the further targets for the rest of the year," he added.
Pernia said for the government to meet the low-end target of 7 percent for the year, the GDP should grow 7.7 percent during the second half.
The administration is targeting 7-8 percent GDP expansion for 2018. Celerina Monte/DMS