Despite the extensive damage caused by typhoon Haiyan and the earthquake in central Philippines, the government expected Tuesday the country's economy in 2013 to grow by 7 percent. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said the Philippines would continue to post "robust" growth next year as the reconstruction of areas affected by typhoon Haiyan goes into high gear. "Taking into consideration developments in the Philippine economy, including those on the external, monetary and fiscal fronts, we expect gross domestic product (GDP) growth to hit the upper limit of our target for 2013," Balisacan told a press briefing. Without the crises and natural calamities that struck the Philippines, Balisacan said economic growth this year could reach as high as 7.5 percent or beyond the 2013 target of 6 to 7 percent. For 2014, Balisacan said the government is maintaining its growth projection of 6.5 to 7.5 percent. "We expect rapidly to implement recovery and reconstruction for typhoon-affected areas to help offset the probable slowdown of the economy in the first quarter (of 2014). But in the subsequent quarter, we should be able to regain the momentum," Balisacan said. Of the 130 billion pesos (2.94 billion U.S. dollars) required for the reconstruction of typhoon-affected areas, he said 34 billion pesos (769.96 million U.S. dollars) would be used immediately in the first half of 2014. Balisacan said the amount will cover expenses for temporary housing for victims, and rebuilding and repair of public infrastructure and other facilities such as schools, clinics and health centers. Part of the amount, he said, will also go to providing livelihood to farmers and fishermen affected by the typhoon. Balisacan said the Philippine government will be presenting the reconstruction and rehabilitation plan to its development partners on Dec. 18.