Bicol’s economy grows by 8.9%, highest among RP’s 13 regions
posted 26-Jun-2019  ·  
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Good news: Bicol’s Gross Regional Domestic Product grew by 8.9 percent between 2017-2018, the highest economic growth among the 13 regions of the country last year and better than the 6.2% for the Philippines.

The sobering news, however, is that the region’s Per Capita GRDP of P29,369 is the second lowest nationwide, meaning the Bicolanos did not produce enough goods and services

In its data dissemination conducted last Friday (June 14, 2019) for majority of the 85 respondents in its ongoing 2018 Census of Philippine Business and Industry (CPBI) and 2018 Input-Output Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (IOSPBI), Chief Statistical Specialist Danilo Luceña of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) regional office highlighted the fact that Bicol’s Per Capita GDP is a just 34% of the national average of P86,370.

The Bicol Per Capita GRDP for 2018 beats only the P14,657 recorded in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and is just 11 percent of the highest GRDP, P253,893 of the National Capital Region. Still, the 2018 figure is 6.8 percent higher than the 2017 Per Capita GRDP of P27,487 for the region.

The report stated that at constant 2000 prices, the GRDP in Bicol rose from P172.2 billion in 2017 to P187.6 billion last year. But it contributed just 2% to the national GDP, Luceña stated,

It underscored that the 8.9% GRDP growth matched the figure for 2015, before the regional economic growth slowed down by 5.5% in 2016 and 5% in 2017.

The robust rise in gross production is attributed mostly to the construction industry (2.6%) and other services (2.3%), two sectors which accounted for over half of the growth.

Luceña explained that the GRDP presents a picture of how a region’s industries fared, are expanding, or needs intervention, and is an important indicator of the evolution of the area’s economic landscape.

Aside from measuring economic performance, the GRDP serves as basis for the government’s more responsive economic policies, he added, through inputs in regional development plans.

The statistic is also used as basis for investment promotion and support services and in analyzing trends and forecasting for planning purposes, the PSA official stressed.

On a more specific scale, the GRDP is likewise utilized in the estimation of the minimum wage, allocation of funds to regional offices, identification of the region’s demand for labor, setting of targets for agricultural production, target-setting in tax collection and researches, he said.

The PSA executive clarified that although the region experienced 10% inflation late last year, the inflationary effect is not considered in the economic analysis.

Luceña also disclosed that based on the PSA survey, only one region, ARMM, is predominantly agricultural while three – Cordillera Administrative Region, Region III and Region IVA – are predominantly industrial. The rest are predominantly services-based, including Bicol whose economy is 57.5 percent devoted to services.

Based on the 2018 List of Establishments, Catanduanes has 1,670 economic establishments, which is a less than 0.2 percent of the total 1,001,608 registered in the entire country.

The same statistical report shows that nearly half of the country’s establishment are engaged in Wholesale and Retail Trade as well as the Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles. This is roughly reflected in Catanduanes, where 741 or 44.4 percent are into the same businesses.

It underscored the fact that the agriculture sector has only one establishment listed in the 2018 LE, compared to 332 in Industry and 1,337 in Services.

Responding to a comment, PSA’s Luceña said that at present, the agency cannot present a GDP on a per-province basis as it is still trying to come up with provincial data starting with Camarines Sur as pilot area.

“We need to harmonize accounts and the methodology has to be approved by the System of National Accounts,” he disclosed, adding that to estimate a province’s GDP, one can get the revenue of the top businesses in the area.

The participants at the Twin Rock Beach Resort function hall in Igang, Virac, which also included local civil registrars and their staff, were also briefed on the PSA’s forthcoming implementation of the National ID System this September 2019.

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