MANILA, JUNE 29, 2011 (MALAYA) Manufacturing output recorded its slowest growth in 18 months at 2.6 percent in April, data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed.

The advance in Aprilís volume of production index, based on the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries, was also markedly slower than the revised 9.7 percent annual growth recorded in March this year and the 31.4 percent surge in April last year.

The previous low was in October 2009 when manufacturing output contracted 5 percent.

The NSO said the growth slowdown stemmed from the decline in production output of the basic metals industry, which posted a 0.6 percent growth for April, against 8.9 percent in March and the 54.2 percent growth in April last year.

Nine sectors, however, contributed to the growth in volume of production by posting double-digit growths, led by non-metallic mineral products with a growth of 22.6 percent.

The output decline was led by machinery except electrical with a 37.5 percent contraction.

On a monthly basis, growth in the volume of production slowed down to 4.3 percent, from 4.5 percent recorded in the previous month.

This was due to the double-digit contraction in output of six sectors, led by leather products at negative 34.8 percent.

Value of production also recorded a slower growth at 4 percent, compared with 8.5 percent in March and 24.5 percent in April 2010.

The NSO said that the slowdown may be largely attributed to the decline in production values of basic metals, which recorded a 7.3 percent growth from last yearís 58.8 percent; and miscellaneous manufactures, with a growth of 5.9 percent against April 2010ís 38.8 percent.

Double-digit growth, however, was seen in eight major sectors, led by non-metallic mineral products with 24.3 percent. Month-on-month, the value of production grew 4.7 percent.

Volume of net sales slowed to 6.6 percent from 11.9 percent last month and 28.8 percent in April last year.

Nine sectors contributed to the growth, while the remaining sectors posted output declines, led by machinery except electrical with negative 21.2 percent.

On a monthly basis, the volume of net sales grew 6.8 percent, with 10 major sectors posting double-digit declines.

The value of net sales also saw a slower growth of 7.9 percent, compared with 10.6 percent the previous month and 22 percent in April last year.

The growth was pushed by double-digit expansions in seven major sectors led by rubber and plastic products, which grew 33.9 percent.

Machinery except electrical led the decline in growth, posting a 16 percent contraction.

Month on month, the value of net sales slowed 7.2 percent, with 10 sectors posting double-digit declines, led by furniture and fixtures which contracted 26.5 percent.

A barely passing grade for Noy

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) yesterday gave President Aquino a barely passing mark in his first year in office, saying he has failed to deliver on his campaign promises.

"I donít see yet how we can be brought to the promised land," said Felino Palafox Jr., MAP president of, at the sideline of a press conference where he presented 220 recommendations for the Aquino administration to consider.

The recommendations are anchored on the three Cs: criminality, corruption and climate change.

Palafox said MAP is giving the President another year to act on these recommendations and improve on his 75 percent grade.

Palafox said while he believes President Aquino is honest and is a man of integrity, "people below him may not be on the same page."

"We believe he is sincere but implementation of his programs has to be monitored," Palafox said.

Palafox said Aquino started on the right path with his "no wang wang" policy but has not delivered on his "kayo and boss ko," "matuwid na daan" and "kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" pronouncements.

MAP was hoping to see the Aquino government make a big stride in stamping out corruption but Palafox said that based on feedback from members, the fight against "corruption is not getting anywhere," and the problem is becoming worse than getting better.

"We urge the government to consider and support the anti-corruption measures being espoused by MAP," said Palafox, citing the Integrity Initiative which aims to promote accountability and integrity in business.

Palafox said in his industry alone, real estate and construction, corruption has never been more rampant.

He said developers still complain that it takes 44 signatories for construction permits to be released. They have to deal with government agencies and local government units which are notorious for charging "per square meter of corruption."

In infrastructure, Palafox said contractors complain that the "20 percent SOP (standard operating procedure)" or kickback is still there.

"The government should be the enabler and not the obstacle course," Palafox said.

Palafox praised the Department of Public Works and Highways for the improvements in the transparency in the bidding process but said "Secretary (Rogelio) Singson needs help."

"The DPWH should go beyond canceling contracts and acting on corruption and into ensuring competence. Private sector should not be subsidizing corruption and incompetence," he said.

Palafox said one other area that has problems is tourism.

"We donít see the vision," he said, adding that the government has yet to satisfactorily address as basic a need as an efficient airport, which is the first and last impression of a visitor.

MAP earlier signed agreements with the Department of Finance and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to push its advocacies and is looking for similar ones with other government agencies.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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