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Philippine economy grew 5.6 pct in the second quarter, slightly below government's target

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine economy grew by 5.6 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, slightly below the government's target, officials said Thursday.

The figure brings growth in the first six months to 5.3 percent, down from 6.2 percent for the same period a year ago. The economy grew 5 percent in first quarter.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government is now likely to miss its 2015 full-year growth target of 7 to 8 percent, with 6 to 6.5 percent growth looking more realistic.

He called the second-quarter figure "respectable," saying it reflects a boost in government spending, especially public construction, which grew 20 percent from a 24 percent contraction in the first quarter after efforts to address spending bottlenecks. Private investment, robust exports, and household consumption also contributed to growth.

"Despite the GDP number hitting slightly below the government's target, we recognize that it is much more important to ensure that the growth momentum is sustained," Balisacan said.

He said "the quality and the rate of current growth" will help the Philippine economy "withstand the volatile markets overseas."

He said the government needs to address challenges to ensure sustainable growth, including developing transportation networks and power, as well as being able to respond better to natural disasters.

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