Philippines says on track to reach growth targets

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A senior official says the Philippines is on track to achieve its target of economic growth averaging 7-8 percent for the next several years.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Monday that challenges remain in cutting poverty, increasing investment and creating quality jobs.

The government has a six-year development plan through to 2016 that hopes to spread the benefits of economic growth to the country's poor.

Apart from the growth target, the government wants to reduce unemployment to 6.5-6.7 percent and slash poverty to 18-20 percent of the population from 25.2 percent.

The economy grew 7.2 percent last year despite a series of disasters including Typhoon Haiyan.

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