Officials say Philippine economic growth slowed in the first quarter of this year largely due to sluggish government spending.

National Statistician Lisa Grace Bersales said Thursday the country's gross domestic product grew by 5.2 percent in the first quarter, down from 5.6 percent a year earlier and 6.6 percent in the last quarter of 2014.

Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan says the slow pace of public spending particularly in construction has resulted in an overall growth that was lower than government and market expectations.

Balisacan says the economy is expected to expand faster in the coming months as public spending picks up.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima says the government was "less concerned" about the quarterly figures "than getting the foundations of our growth right."