DUE to the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic performance of Central Visayas plunged by 9.9 percent in 2020.
This is in stark contrast to the 6.2 percent growth recorded in the region in 2019, whose economic value stood at P1.254 trillion.
In 2020, the value of the region’s economic performance stood at P1.129 trillion, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority on Thursday, April 29, 2021.
PSA 7 Director Ariel Florendo said the drop in the performance of industries by five percent and services by 5.2 percent contributed heavily to the overall 9.9 percent decline. Agriculture, however, grew 0.3 percent.
Central Visayas’ economic performance, according to PSA 7, was worse than the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which was at negative 9.5 percent, the first annual contraction since 1998, the year after the Asian financial crisis erupted.
Financial and insurance activities grew 9.3 percent while accommodation and food services recorded a poor performance, declining by 43.4 percent.
The region’s tourism, accommodation and transportation sectors have been the casualties in this pandemic-stricken economy.
Only 1.5 million tourists traveled in the region in 2020, which was much lower than the 9.4 million tourists recorded in 2019.
Despite the decline, Florendo said Central Visayas is still the country’s fourth largest contributor to the GDP.
Efren Carreon, National Economic and Development Authority 7 director, said 2020 had been a difficult year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the negative 9.9 percent economic performance of Central Visayas has been the only contraction in the region in the past 20 years.
The economic activity of the region slowed down after community quarantine was imposed in the country in the second quarter of the year, said Carreon. Business activities gradually resumed following the easing of the restrictions in the second half of 2020.
Despite the resumption of businesses, Carreon said consumer demand remained low, affecting the full recovery in most businesses.
Some 41,000 workers were affected after the community quarantine was imposed and 36,000 workers were affected due to the permanent closure of some establishments, based on the data of the Department of Labor and Employment.
To rescue the region’s economy, Carreon said consumer demand and confidence must be boosted.
Carreon suggests that the government expand the age groups allowed to go out while adhering to the existing minimum health protocols.
Also, the Neda 7 chief said the government’s implementation of the economic recovery programs helps resolve the cash flows, production capabilities of several sectors, and households’ disposable income.
These economic programs are offered by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Department of Transportation.
Despite this weakened economic performance, Leopoldo Alfanta Jr., PSA7’s chief statistical specialist, is positive that the region can recover from its losses in 2020 this year. To achieve this, the region must grow 11 percent to level with the pre-pandemic economic performance.