THE manufacturing sector grew 5.8 percent in May, faster than the 4.3-percent growth a month ago, driven mainly by higher output of construction- and export-oriented goods, the National Economic and Development Authority said Tuesday.

Export-oriented products include basic and fabricated metals, and non-metallic mineral products, as shown in the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) for May 2017 of the Philippine Statistics Authority, a Neda-attached agency.

Fabricated metals registered a record-high growth of 116.9 percent while basic metals and non-metallic products increased 29.1 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively.

“These recorded increases led to an overall Volume of Production Index (VoPI) for manufacturing of 5.8 percent, faster than the 4.3 percent growth recorded in the previous month,” Neda said.

“This also led to the 7.5 percent three-month moving average growth rate, reflecting a robust performance of the sector,” it said.

The Value of Production Index (VaPI) remained positive with a growth of 3.6 percent and a 5.9 percent three-month moving average.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said construction products were expected to grow further toward the end of the year, backed by the government’s massive infrastructure development spending.

These include the implementation of major infrastructure projects, such as the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, Cavite-Laguna Expressway and PNR North South Commuter Rail.

“Manufacturing output is expected to sustain its growth toward the end of the second quarter, driven by buoyant domestic demand and optimistic business outlook,” Pernia said. “Seventy-five flagship projects have been identified by the administration to address our huge infrastructure deficit,” Pernia said.

Meanwhile, Pernia pressed for efforts across all levels of government to ensure inclusive innovation.

“Bureaucratic procedures at the national and local levels should be simplified across the country, from urban centers to far-flung areas. Market-driven research should also be made available to everyone so that firms, whether small or large, can expand production and reach larger markets,” he said.

Pernia noted that among the pillars of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 was increasing growth potential, which involves greater use of science, technology, and promoting innovation.

Julito G. Rada