Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Bicol economy posts low growth at 2.6% for 2011

Tourism come-on … a whale shark in the waters of Donsol, Sorsogon.

DARAGA, Albay: The Bicol regional economy grew by 2.6% in 2011, or only half of the economic performance posted in 2010, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), Regional Office 5, reported during a media forum held at Alvi’s Restaurant here.

Engr Gil Arce, NSCB regional head, and lawyer Romeo Escandor, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region 5 regional director, were the resource persons.

Using Power Point to present facts and figures, Arce said that like the National Economy which posted an annual growth rate of only 3.9% in 2011 from a 7.6% in 2010, the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of Bicol also went down from 5.2% in 2010 to 2.65 in 2011.Arce further said that “the service sector, the biggest contributor to the region’s output at 55.5%, grew at a slightly faster rate of 3.9% from 3.7% the previous year.”
The industry sector accounted for 18.9% of the region’s economy in 2011 or a 0.1% drop from 19% in 2010.

Agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing contributed 25.65 to the regional economy in 2011 or a decrease of 0.5% from 26.1% in 2010.

 “Among the regions, Bicol ranks 11th from the top and 8th from below in economic performance,” Arce said.

On the other hand, Escandor said that Bicol can still achieve an annual growth rate of 5% to 6% this year as long as the total economy grows bigger. 

“We have high hopes in the service sector like tourism, call centers or the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO),” the NEDA regional director said.

Furthermore, Escandor said the completion of the Southern Luzon International Airport in Brgy Alobo, Daraga, Albay could boost the Bicol economy, particularly in trade and tourism. 

He said the NEDA Board had already approved additional funding for the SLIA which is partly funded by private sector participation. 

Despite the region’s setbacks brought about by the down-trend in mining, low productivity in agriculture and frequent occurrence of weather disturbances like tropical cyclones, the Bicol region can still rebound from “a laggard to a stable economy,” Escandor said.

He admitted that although Bicol is basically an agricultural region, the region has not benefited much from farming due to lack of credit or extension services like fertilizer and post-harvest facilities. – Bicol Mail


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