Central Visayas economy grows 5.4% despite ‘Odette’

·4 min read

A YEAR after it shrank due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the economy of Central Visayas grew by 5.4 percent in 2021 despite the battering it took from Typhoon Odette (Rai) last December.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Thursday said all the 17 regions of the country recovered from the 2020 pandemic and registered growth in 2021.

But the growth of Central Visayas was lower than the national rate of 5.7 percent, as well as the growth rates of 10 other regions.

The Central Visayas economy is now valued at P1.20 trillion at constant 2018 prices.

Ariel Florenda, director of the PSA in Central Visayas (PSA 7), said the value in 2020 was only P1.13 trillion, down from P1.25 trillion in pre-pandemic 2019.

“The economy of Central Visayas recorded a 5.4 percent growth in 2021 compared with the contraction of 9.5 percent in 2020,” said Florenda during the news conference on the Economic Performance of Central Visayas at the Bai Hotel in Mandaue City on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Other regions that grew faster than Central Visayas in 2021 were Calabarzon, which grew 7.6 percent; BARMM, 7.5 percent; Cordillera Administrative Region, 7.5 percent; Central Luzon, 7.4 percent; Caraga, 7.2 percent; Northern Mindanao, 6.3 percent; Eastern Visayas, 6.0 percent; Western Visayas, 5.9 percent; Davao Region, 5.9 percent; and Zamboanga Peninsula, 5.7 percent.

Florenda cited wholesale and retail trade, the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, manufacturing, and professional and business services as the main contributors to the 2021 economic growth of Central Visayas.

Wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motorcycles posted a growth rate of 6.1 percent, while manufacturing had a growth rate of four percent and professional and business services, 8.9 percent.

The economic performance is measured based on the gross regional domestic product (GRDP).

Florenda said Central Visayas is predominantly service-based along with 15 other regions as services accounted for the highest share of the economy, adding that only Calabarzon is predominantly industrial.

Typhoon losses

Dolores Molintas, assistant regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said the better economic performance was due to the significant recovery efforts such as the easing of Covid-19 quarantine restrictions.

However, Molintas noted that the devastation brought by Typhoon Odette in most parts of Central Visayas on Dec. 16, 2021 resulted in income losses of around P79 billion.

“Such losses if translated to percentage points of the 2021 GRDP would be around two percent. Thus, the reported 5.4 percent growth of the region’s economy in 2021 could have roughly reached seven percent if not for Typhoon Odette,” she said.

Molintas added that the growth in 2021 came from industry with 3.8 percent; agriculture, forestry and fishing, 5.6 percent; construction, eight percent; electricity, steam, water and waste management, 6.4 percent; and manufacturing, four percent.

Mining and quarrying plunged as much as 42.5 percent in 2021.

As for services, Molintas said Central Visayas advanced with 5.9 percent growth in 2021, although accommodation and food service activities shrank by 4.7 percent.

The assistant regional director noted the wholesale and retail trade as well as transportation and storage, and accommodation and food services, which are allied industries to domestic and international tourism, were among those that suffered in 2020 amid the pandemic.

“In 2021, however, we saw wholesale and retail trade as well as transportation, grow by as much as 6.1 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively,” she said, explaining that the lifting of the travel ban was among the reasons for the increase.

Molintas said the sub-categories in services with the highest growth rates in 2021 included human health and social work activities, 21.3 percent; compulsory social activities, 10.7 percent; education and professional and business services, 8.9 percent each; and information and communication, 7.8 percent.

Financial and insurance activities also grew 4.4 percent, while real estate and ownership of dwellings and other services grew 1.4 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Molintas said Cebu Province, including the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, is a major contributor to the growth of the Central Visayas economy, bringing about a 70 percent yearly contribution.

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