TACLOBAN CITY (PIA) – The economy of Eastern Visayas grew by 5.9 percent in 2018 from the 1.8 percent in 2017, according to the regional chief of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA-8).
In a news conference, Regional Director Wilma Perante said the Services sector, which shared the bulk of the region’s economy at 44.4 percent, accelerated to 10.5 percent in 2018 from its 6.2 percent growth in 2017.
“Among the three major industries, Services contributed most to the region’s overall growth rate at 4.5 percentage points, followed by Industry at 1.5 percentage points, while Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) pulled down the region’s growth by 0.1 percentage point,” Perante said.
In her statement, Meylene Rosales, OIC-Regional Director of the National Economic Development Authority 8 (NEDA-8) said last year’s upbeat performance of the region’s economy stemmed largely from increases in all of Services’ subsectors, particularly, the Other Services and the Transportation, Storage and Communications.
“The proliferation of hotels, restaurants, and other service establishments in the major cities is a factor to this growth,” she said, referring to the flourishing tourism activities in the region.
Rosales added that accelerated growth was attributed also to more flights and passengers – flights that increased by more than 28 percent and passengers by around 25 percent. Weight of annual domestic cargo and cargo throughput, also went up – cargo by almost 22 percent and throughput by around seven percent.
“This is a sign of an active trade in the region,” she further said.
Also, she explained that, the financial system in the region remained robust in 2018 due to the growth in deposit liabilities and in loans portfolio.
“The implementation of the third tranche of the Salary Standardization and Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which resulted in bigger net take-home pay of low to middle-income workers, the increase in the basic salary of military and uniformed personnel, and the conditional cash transfers together with rice subsidies given to 280,992 poor households under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) contributed to the positive performance,” added Rosales.
The Industry sector, which also shared the bulk (second to Services) of the region’s economy at 41.6 percent, rebounded from 1.8 percent contraction in 2017 to 3.5 percent growth in 2018. Mining and quarrying registered the biggest growth (84.7 percent), followed by Construction (17.4 percent), and Electricity, Gas and Water Supply (6.3 percent).
While Manufacturing declined by 5.7 percent in 2018 from 13.3 percent growth in 2017, it remained to have the lion’s share in the 2018 Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) at 18.3 percent.
The AHFF sector, PSA Director Perante said, which only has 14 percent share of the region’s economy, declined by 0.5 percent from 0.1 percent growth in 2017.
“Agriculture and Fishery slowed down however, to 1.1 percent from the 2.8 percent growth in 2017, while Fishing continued to decline by 7.4 percent, although at a slower rate, than the 10.1 percent contraction in 2017,” Perante said.
The NEDA-8 chief said the AHFF sector performance could be traced to weather disturbances, including excessive rainfall resulting to delayed planting of farmers, pest infestations and the rising of fuel prices that leads to reduced number of fishing trips, among others.
The Eastern Visayas economic growth last year hits the upper limit growth forecast of 5.8 percent to 5.9 percent of the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022.
Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) measures the economic performance and covers the value of goods produced in the region and services during the reference period.