High poverty still bogs Western Visayas economy

WESTERN Visayas has posted a robust economy, but the region has to face more challenges especially with high poverty incidence, high unemployment rate and other challenges.

In last week's State of the Region Address (Sora) before members of the regional development council (RDC), Chairman Victor Tanco said the region's economy remains robust with its Gross Regional Domestic Product (GDRP) growing at 5.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, and higher than the national growth rate of 3.9 during that same period.

Tangco said that some of the challenges that need to be travelled are the increase in poverty incidence; decrease in births attended by skilled health personnel; survival rates in both elementary and high schools have not significantly improved; 15th out of 17th in employment growth rate at 0.56 in 2010-2012 period and contributed only 0.05 to the national growth rate; high retrenchment rate brought about by economic losses encountered by establishments in wholesale and retail services; and other challenges.

The region remains one of the fastest growing economies in the Philippines, which Tanco attributed to the remarkable growth of the agriculture sector that registered about 14 percent from a negative 6.7 percent from 2009 to 2010 resulting in the huge improvement in rice and corn yields and in banana production.

The region's top employment drivers also came from the business processing outsourcing and services sector.

Tanco said the high tax collection generated from P5.3 billion in 2011 to P6.5 billion in 2012 due to intensive tax collection efforts.
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