The government’s think tank in Western Visayas is hoping to see the region grow by more than 6.5 percent this year, higher than the 6.1 percent rate in 2018.
During yesterday’s briefing here on the recent socio-economic report of Western Visayas, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director for Western Visayas, Ro-Ann A. Bacal, cited that growth slowed down last year compared with the 8.6 growth rate in 2017.
“We hope to be able to reach a growth rate higher than 6.5 percent because that is what we need in order to have a dent in the economy. Meaning with the 6.5 you know that the economy is robust, you know that money is circulating around the economy and that business is doing good, not for all business but generally, that would be the situation,” she said in a follow-up interview.
She cited the need to focus on agriculture and fisheries, which poorly performed last year and made a negative impact on the region’s overall growth.
The agriculture, forestry, and fishery (AFF) decelerated to negative 1.4 percent from 8.8 percent in 2017. It was due to the negative 1.6 percent performance of the agriculture and forestry sectors and negative 0.6 percent in the fishing subsector.
“In the case of the agriculture sector, I’m really disappointed knowing that my counterpart is doing her best. Director (Remelyn) Recoter is going around exerting so much effort to reach out to LGUs (local government units),” she said.
She added that achieving the target growth means getting the support and contribution of LGUs on the ground. She said that the regional offices will just provide guidance, and point out areas that need to be improved.
Bacal added that the opening of Boracay Island will also perk up the performance of the tourism sector. This will be augmented by the opening of various destinations in other provinces of the region.
Based on data, tourist receipts as a result of the six-month closure decreased to PHP104.86 billion in 2018 from PHP128.46 billion in 2017.
Other than the agriculture and fishery that posted a negative growth, other sectors such as the manufacturing and services grew by 4.7 and 7.5 percent, respectively, in 2018.
“We are still excited about Western Visayas because of the number of things that continue to happen. We continue to expand our roads, we continue to open opportunities,” she said. (Perla Lena PNA via NDB)