CENTRAL Visayas posted the second-highest growth among all regions of the country in 2011, the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB) reported.
It was second only to the Caraga region, which saw growth of 9.6 percent.
However, the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 noted that the actual gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of Caraga is just a fraction of that of Central Visayas.
Neda 7 Assistant Regional Director Efren Carreon said they initially see the industries and services sectors as the ones that fueled the region’s growth to P366 billion.
The region’s GRDP per capita in 2011 was P52,886, up 6.2 percent from the P49,787 in 2010.
He said that for the first quarter of the year, the region has seen growth of 6.4 percent, well within the six to seven percent target.
Carreon admitted they were concerned about meeting the expected target, noting the global financial crisis and the drop in exports.
He credited the performance of other sectors for the growth. Carreon said that this should encourage them to work harder to maintain or improve this year’s performance.
To improve the region’s performance, Carreon said the government needs to continue building its infrastructure projects that improve productivity.
Waiting in the wings are the new terminal at the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the bus rapid transit that will traverse Bulacao, Cebu to the Cebu Business Park.
As for the private sector, Carreon said they can help by paying the right taxes, which are the sources of funds for government projects.
Neda 7 Director Buenaventura Go-Soco, during the Eye On Cebu investment and economic summit last Wednesday, said Cebu is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economies in the country and that it dominates the economy of Central Visayas. He said Cebu accounts for 80 percent of the region’s GRDP.
Though the region placed second in highest growth after the Caraga region, Soco said Caraga’s GRDP is only a tenth of what Central Visayas produces. In 2010, it was Central Visayas that posted the highest growth at 12.5 percent.
Soco said such growth rates mean the region has met the Philippine Development Plan’s goals of achieving growth of seven to eight percent.
He said Cebu is an ideal location for industries due to its proximity to key centers in Asia with direct flights to Japan, South Korea, Taipei, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Singapore.
He also pointed out that many rates are lower than those in Manila, such as the minimum wage, the cost of food, real estate rentals and power.