CORDILLERA Administrative Region’s (CAR's) gross regional domestic product (GRDP) dipped to 9.9 percent due to Covid-19.
From the P321.7 billion posted in 2019, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA–CAR) revealed the region’s GRDP was only at P289.9 billion in 2020.
Services Sector contributed around P191.33 billion or 66 percent, while the industry sector had P69.58 billion (24 percent) with agriculture, forestry and fishing contributing around P29 billion (10 percent).
Stephanie Christiansen, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda-CAR) officer-in-charge regional director, said Cordillera’s economy was already growing between 2017 and 2019, however, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the growth in 2020.
“Like the national economy that contracted a -9.6 percent, our regional economy was even more affected, registering a -9.9 percent in regional gross output. Two of our biggest growth drivers suffered the most significant negative growth in gross output that is accommodation and food services activities and manufacturing,” Christiansen said.
Neda–CAR explained the region needs to achieve at least an 11-percent increase in its 2021 GRDP to be able to break even with the contraction incurred due to the effects brought about by the coronavirus.
An economic contraction is a decline in national output as measured by gross domestic product that includes a drop in real personal income, industrial production, and retail sales while increasing unemployment rates.
“With the imposed quarantine measures and restrictions from travels, tourism activities were brought to a halt contributing to the negative 49 percent decline in gross output to accommodation and food service activities. More so, the sub-sectors' contribution to total regional gross product dropped to 3.4 percent from 6.6 percent in 2019,” Christiansen added.
Christiansen, in her response statement, outlined that the unprecedented crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic brought with it the realization that apart from economic growth, health and well–being are just as important or even more important.
“Let us not be disheartened with the earlier pronouncement that our economy slides back to our 2019 growth level and that we need to grow by an ambitious 11 percent to break even in 2021. What we perhaps need to do is to refocus on what sectors or industries we need to support to recover that in return will help the regional economy bounce back better. We have to be strategic in our recovery efforts in 2021 and beyond,” Christiansen said.
Christiansen added Neda–CAR has activated five task groups of the Regional Recovery Cluster under the Regional Task Force Covid-19, which focuses on economic recovery, social recovery, governance, transport support and local travel and food resiliency.
Neda–CAR also spearheaded a virtual orientation and dialogue on the updated Philippine Development Plan 2017–2022, where major policies and strategies were enhanced to respond to the development challenges brought by Covid-19.
“The decline in our gross regional output comes to no surprise, as this is consistent with assessment and estimated losses we incurred from the pandemic. In the Covid-19 regional recovery program 2020 to 2022, total estimated losses during the two-month lockdown amounted to P18.625 billion, with the bulk of the losses is the productive sectors at 61 percent, with the most affected sub-sector that included Peza (Philippine Economic Zone Authority), labor and employment, agriculture and fisheries and micro-small and medium enterprises,” Christiansen added.