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Surging ahead

What does the latest economic growth figure tell us?

What else? That the economic advance is impervious to if not buttressed by the administration’s tough campaign against crime, corruption, and terrorism.

These three factors historically impact negatively on the country’s economic performance.

But the growth data even seem to indicate tacit approval of the administration’s crack down.

Let the numbers speak for themselves.

The economy grew by 6.5 percent in the three months to June, likely one of the fastest in Asia, the government said Thursday, defying concerns over President Duterte's unconventional leadership.
    
Duterte has now presided over an economy growing at an average 6.6 percent clip in the past year, despite rule-of-law concerns over his drug war that has left thousands dead.
    
"I am pleased to inform you that we remain as one of the best-performing economies in Asia," Economic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia said in a speech to announce gross domestic product growth for the second quarter.
    
"We are well on track to meeting our full-year target growth of 6.5-7.5 percent," Pernia said, with the economy having expanded by 6.4 percent in the first half.
    
Industry was the main driver for April-June 2017, backed by expansion in manufacturing and mining, while the farm sector's continued recovery from a dry spell also helped offset the slower growth in the vast services sector, he said.
    
The research arm of Japan's Nomura financial group said the second quarter data meant the Philippines was on course for 6.7- percent growth this year.
    
Buoyant sentiment, sustained remittances by Filipinos working abroad, low inflation and falling unemployment numbers were key drivers, it said in a statement.
    
"We continue to expect government spending to accelerate given the administration’s strong push to implement public sector infrastructure projects and avoid past problems of under-spending," it added.
    
Among Asia's major economies, the 6.5-percent second quarter growth was below only China's 6.9- percent jump for the quarter, Pernia said.
    
Malaysia and Thailand, which have yet to release economic growth data for the period, were unlikely to announce higher figures than the Philippines, he added.
    
Duterte has largely left the running of the economy to experienced aides while focusing his efforts on directing a deadly anti-narcotics campaign.
    
Police killed 25 more drug suspects across Manila from Wednesday to Thursday, officials said, after Duterte praised the killing of 32 other suspects at a nearby province earlier in the week.