Manila
A worker carries sacks of rice over his head as he walks past piles of different brands of rice for sale, at a market in Manila.

The Philippines has recorded better-than-expected annual growth in the October-December quarter, helped by rise in government spending, strong domestic demand and investment.

Fourth quarter GDP rose to 6.8 percent from a year earlier, according to data released by Philippines' economic planning agency but at slower pace than the revised annual growth of 7.2 percent in the September quarter. Most analysts expected a 6.4 percent expansion.

The economy grew 6.6 percent in 2012 beating the government target of five to six percent growth aided by a "substantial improvement" in the manufacturing and construction sector. The economy grew 3.9 percent in the previous year.

"It is our immediate task to put in place policies and implement programmes that will sustain our economy's growth over the medium term," said Arsenio Balisacan, economic planning secretary.

"We shall continue planting the seeds of a structural transformation in our economy to make it more investment- and industry-led".

President Benigno Acquino who took office in 2010, hopes to achieve economic growth of 8.5 percent by 2016. The World Bank predicts the Philippines to grow by 6.2 percent in 2013 and 6.4 percent next year.

A series of measures introduced by the president to reduce corruption, curb the budget deficit and increase the government spending has helped the Southeast Asian nation to cushion the impact of global economic slowdown.  

The country's central bank also had cut interest rates four times in 2012 in order to boost sustained growth.