Eastern Visayas ‘still poor’

EASTERN Visayas has remained the third poorest region in the Philippines, according to the National Statistical Coordinating Board’s (NSCB) report on Thursday.

The region suffered a 6.2 percent decline in 2012, due to slow performance of industry and agriculture sector.

The region’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) performance nosedived by 8.3 percent from a positive growth of 2.1 percent in 2011. Other regions posted a one percent to 12.4 percent economic growth. The country’s economy had grown by 6.8 percent.

NSCB regional head Evangeline Paran said that out of the 17 areas in the country, only Eastern Visayas posted the negative growth.

The growth in industry sector, which contributes 38.1 percent to the GRDP, dropped by 18.5 percent due to temporary shutdown of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (Pasar) after a fire incident early last year.

“Eastern Visayas contributed only 2.3 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. It ranked 10th from among the 17 regions with the biggest GRDP share,” Paran said.

Farming sector slipped by three percent last year due to the decline in livestock and poultry production and low prices of major crops such as coconut, sugarcane and abaca.

“Fishing decelerated further from negative 4.1 percent in 2011 to negative 6.3 percent in 2012 caused by the output decline in commercial, municipal and aquaculture,” the NSCB official said.

The service sector, which is the biggest contributor to GRDP (39.3 percent), is the only sector that recorded increase in 2012 at 7.5 percent.

“Improved business environment resulted in more private sector investments such as opening of more hotels, vehicle showrooms and drugstores. Operation of new airlines and increase in number of Tacloban-Manila flights contributed to rise in tourist arrivals in the region,” Paran said.

The NSCB said that although there is significant growth in the service sector, industry and agriculture pulled down the regional performance.

The region’s per capita GRDP declined by 7.3 percent, from P37,006 in 2011 to P34,305 in 2012.

The region’s GRDP level is very much lower than the national average of P65,904, making Eastern Visayas fourth lowest among the regions in the country.

The regional poverty incidence rose to 37.2 percent in the first half of 2012 from 36.2 percent in 2009. The region moved to the third poorest rank in 2012 from fifth place in 2009. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)
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