VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Andanar falsely claims PH has strongest GDP growth rate in ASEAN

Read this fact check in Filipino

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar was wrong when, citing the Department of Finance (DoF), he claimed the Philippines has the strongest gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate among Southeast Asian nations.

STATEMENT

Talking about the Duterte administration’s infrastructure and economic plans for the remaining two and a half years of its term in a Jan. 21 radio interview, Andanar said:

"As a matter of fact, sabi nga ng Department of Finance at isa pang independent na economist, ‘no, na ang ating GDP ang pinakamalakas na GDP growth dito sa ating (according to the Department of Finance and an independent economist, our GDP has the strongest GDP growth in our) region, sa (in) Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- o (or) Southeast Asia.”

Source: DZRH, DZRH News Television Live Stream, Jan. 21, 2020, watch from 3:22:28 to 3:32:48

In its 2016 annual report, the DoF claimed the country’s 6.9 percent GDP growth rate was the “highest in the region.” However, in an accompanying chart, the report compared the Philippines only with Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

FACT

The latest available data from the ASEAN statistics division, the official statistics provider of the ASEAN, show the Philippines never had the strongest real GDP growth rate among the 10 member states from 2016 to 2018.

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In 2018, the country ranked only fifth at 6.2 percent, behind Cambodia at 7.5 percent, Vietnam at 7.1 percent, Myanmar at 6.8 percent, and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) at 6.3 percent.

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The country had its strongest GDP growth rate under President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 at 6.9 percent -- a shared achievement with his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III.

Even then, the Philippines tied with Cambodia at second place, next only to Lao PDR, which had a GDP growth rate of 7 percent, according to ASEAN data.

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The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Jan. 23 announced it recorded the country’s GDP growth rate for the full year of 2019 at 5.9 percent. This was the Philippines’ “slowest [growth] in eight years” and “slightly” below the government’s revised target of 6 to 6.5 percent, said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a statement.

NEDA defines GDP as the total amount of all products and services produced domestically over a certain period.

GDP growth rate is the percentage change in real GDP between two consecutive years, according to the United Nations Statistics Division. A positive change in the annual growth rate of GDP “can be interpreted as an increase in the standard of living” of the people in a country or area, it added.


Sources

DZRH, DZRH News Television Live Stream, Jan. 21, 2020

Department of Finance, Annual Report 2016 p. 5, 2017, 2018

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Stats, ASEAN Key Figures 2019

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Stats Data Portal, Growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) in ASEAN, year-on-year (Annually ; Quarterly), Accessed on Jan. 22, 2019

Philippine Statistics Authority official Facebook page, LIVE: PSA Press Conference on the 2019 Fourth Quarter Performance of the Philippine Economy. #PHGDP, Jan. 23, 2020

National Economic Development Authority, STATEMENT OF SOCIOECONOMIC PLANNING SECRETARY ERNESTO M. PERNIA AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL-YEAR OF 2019, Jan. 23, 2020

Association of Southeast Asian Nations official website, ASEAN Member States - ASEAN | ONE VISION ONE IDENTITY ONE COMMUNITY

United Nations Statistics Division, Glossary - amaWebClient

National Economic and Development Authority, Eko_and_Miya_Gross_Domestic_Product


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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