“We are optimistic that the region’s economy will continue to grow and surpass its previous performance as we integrate into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and take advantage of the opportunities being brought about by the Duterte administration,” said Dir. Nestor G. Rillon of NEDA Regional Office 1 during the GRDP News Conference held at Oasis Country Resort, San Fernando City, La Union on July 28, 2016.
He emphasized that the region’s economy remains to be in good shape though at a slower growth rate of 5.0 percent as compared to 6.4 percent in 2014. The said figure was attained amidst a low inflation rate of goods and services in the region, from 4.4 percent in 2014 to 1.5 percent in 2015. Likewise, the 5.0 percent growth rate is within the region’s target of 5.0 – 8.0 percent as set in the Updated Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2011-2016.
The decelerated growth was mainly brought by the negative performance of Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) Sector which has been exposed to weather disturbances. However, the sustained growth of the Service sector making it the biggest contributor to the region’s performance and the faster growth of the Industry sector were more than enough to pull the region’s economy.
The typhoons that directly hit the region in 2015 were the main reasons for the decline in the AHFF Sector. For instance, Typhoon Lando alone brought about P1.8B worth of damages to agriculture and P324 M to fisheries. The combined effects of the typhoons and low supply of water due to El Niño in the latter part of 2015 aggravated the production of agricultural products including rice. This also affected the region’s employment rate from 92.5 percent in 2014 to 91.5 percent in 2015 due to the sudden drop of the number of employed persons in the agriculture sector.
On the other hand, the sustained good performance of the Service sector at 6.8 percent was very promising. From about one half share on the region’s economy in the past years, its share further increased to 51.4 percent largely due to the encouraging performance of Trade and Transportation, Storage and Communication, and Other Services, which were the top three sub-sectors of the Service sector.The booming tourism industry in the region also has contributed highly on the sector.
The Industry sector which also registered a remarkable performance from 6.6 percent in 2014 to 7.5 percent in 2015 was driven primarily by the performance of Construction sub-sector. This was due to the widening and concreting of road shoulders across the region, construction of access roads, and the completion of the TPLEX up to Urdaneta and other government infrastructure projects.
The region is eyeing a stronger performance in the future through the strategies which will be laid down in the successor RDP 2017-2022. The plan will serve as the roadmap for the region’s economic directions and developmental efforts. “With the continued improvements in the region’s economic performance, we are confident that we will realize the AmbisyonNatin 2040 vision that spells-out what we want to achieve for ourselves and for our country as Filipinos by 2040,” ended Rillon. — By: John F. Gagucas