Bicol has fastest growing economy among all PHL regions in 2015

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LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) – A top official of the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) in the Bicol region said the economy in the region is the fastest growing among all 18 regions in the country.

Cynthia Perdiz, PSA-Bicol director, said “the (Bicol) region’s economy pulled up with a growth rate of 8.4 percent, the highest attained in terms of gross regional domestic product (GRDP), that has put Bicol on top of all regions.”

She said a PSA report showed that “both industry and service sectors” helped fuel this growth.

Perdiz explained that industry accelerated faster than services but both sectors boosted the region’s economy.

She said the high growth rate was driven by “the industry sector which expanded at a faster rate of 23.7 percent in 2015 from its 5.3 percent growth in 2014.”

PSA data, however, showed that while notable growth was seen in the two sectors, there was drop in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector.

The year 2015 saw the onset of El Nino which affected the agricultural sector’s performance and reduced rice production.

Poverty incidence

PSA data showed that for a three-year period, from 2012 to 2015, there has been a noticeable drop in poverty incidence.

“For the first semester of 2015, poverty incidence in Bicol dropped to 30.9 percent, from the 34.1 percent in 2012,” said PSA.

Poverty incidence among individuals was estimated at 39 percent in the first half of 2015, down from the 43.3 percent, during the same period in 2012.

While the region is seen as the “fastest growing”

Bicol continues to “endeavor to be delisted from among the poorest regions in the country,” said Perdiz.

Bicol region has a population of 5.7 million, 39 percent or 2.2 million of whom are poor. This means that four out of 10 people in the region are poor.

Private sector

Rep. Joey Salceda (2nd District, Albay), an economist, said the region’s growth performance was “so impressive” while noting that its indicators were doable.

He lauded the Bicolanos, the people and its private sector, who “must take credit for the significant growth.”

“There was a strong contribution from the planning and its project follow-up and implementation as well as the monitoring vigor of the Bicol-Regional Development Council (RDC),” said Salceda.

He added that there was “dynamic and collaborative” members in the RDC, that included the various local government units and non-government agencies, working in the region.

Salceda has been chairman of the Bicol-RDC for nine years and the Luzon Area Development Committee (RDCOM) for six years.

Growth rate

Perdiz said the high growth rate was driven by the industry sector which expanded at a faster rate of 23.7 percent in 2015 from its 5.3 percent growth in 2014.

She said the region’s growth rate is measured in two levels: GRDP output on current prices and constant prices.

Bicol under the GRDP current prices level has increased by 8.4 percent or P11.9 million from the P154.709 billion of goods and services produced last year–a far cry from the “sluggish” GRDP performance of P142.763 billion output in 2014, PSA data said.

While based on the GRDP at constant prices, including inflation rate, the region has produced P281.2 billion GRDP in 2015 as compared to slow performance in 2014, which recorded only P264.7 billion. It produced only P243.8 billion in 2013.

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