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The Philippine manufacturing sector recorded decreases in both volume and value in July 2019, its eighth month in a row of decline, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Based on the preliminary result of PSA’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI), the Volume of Production Index (VoPI) fell 8.1% in July 2019 from the 10.1% growth in the same month last year. The Value of Production Index (VaPI) likewise dropped 7.3% from the 11.1% increase in July 2018.

The slowdown in VoPI was mainly due to the annual decreases in six major industry groups, with petroleum products as well as furniture and fixtures registering the highest annual decrements of 75.8% and 24.8%, respectively.

The decline of VaPI was also attributed to the decreases in the indices of five major industry groups, with petroleum products posting the highest negative rate of 76.5%.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said a speedy implementation of public works in the second semester of 2019 is seen to prop up demand and help boost the country’s manufacturing growth.

NEDA undersecretary for policy and planning Rosemarie G. Edillon said the decline in construction-related manufactures reflected the slowdown in government spending on infrastructure since the first semester of 2019.

“The slowdown on the implementation of infrastructure projects in the first semester of 2019 contributed to the weak performance of manufacturing sector. There is a need to accelerate public works spending to prop up demand for construction-related infrastructure,” she said.

Edillon added that to ensure sustained construction activity, expediting the approval of permits and requirements for construction-related projects is vital.

“These initiatives are necessary for us to meet our infrastructure targets. However, this semester might be challenging for construction activities as unfavorable weather conditions may cause disruptions,” she said.

She also called for the passage of a national quality infrastructure (NQI) bill that will highlight the need for uniform product standards, testing protocol and accessible testing infrastructure to facilitate the access of micro, small, and medium enterprises to global value chains. This must be coupled with capacity-building programs on product standards and quality assurance.

MISSI is a report that monitors the production, net sales, inventories, and capacity utilization of selected manufacturing establishments to provide flash indicators on the performance of the manufacturing sector.

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