TACLOBAN CITY – The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of the region grew by 5.7% in 2013 largely due to better performance of manufacturing industries, offsetting economic losses from supertyphoon Yolanda. GRDP measures the value of goods and services produced by a region. The GRPD of all regions sums up to the gross domestic product of a country. The regional economy rebounded from a 6.4% drop in 2012 to a 5.7% growth in 2013, contributing 2.2% to last year’s national economy. Evangeline Paran, regional head of the Philippine Statistics Authority-National Statistical Coordination Board, said Eastern Visayas is the eleventh fastest growing region last year, but lowest in terms of growth compare to Central and Western Visayas regions. The industry sector, with a share of 41.1% to the GRDP, posted a 14.1% growth, a significant rebound from 18.8% decline in 2012. This was due to the strong performance in the manufacture of basic metals.

“The brisk performance was a result of resumption of operation of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining (PASAR) Corporation. A total of $670 million export revenue was recorded from the Leyte Industrial Development Estate, accounting to almost 75% of the region’s total export earnings,” said National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director Bonifacio Uy.

PASAR managed to improve its export performance after a temporary shutdown due to a fire incident early last year. However, construction subsector only expanded 9.2% in 2013, lower than 29% a year ago. Contributing to the decline was the stricter rules imposed on real estate lending and the tightening of mass housing incentives by the Board of Investments.

“Likewise, the big drop in the total value of new constructions from approved building permits from third to the fourth quarter of the year dragged the subsector gains. This was mainly a repercussion of supertyphoon Yolanda, which prevented the construction of buildings during this period,” Uy explained. In contrast, other key industries registered contraction last year. The services industry, which contributed 38.9% to the region’s production, dipped from 7.3% in 2012 to 4.5% in 2013.

“The drop in the services sector was largely contributed by 18.4% decrease in real estate and business activities due to the large decline in the number of dwelling units that were damaged by last year’s super typhoon,” Paran said. Uy explained that decline in the services sector could have been higher had there been no financial intermediation activities, which consist of borrowing from banks and remittances from abroad for typhoon victims. These activities posted an accelerated growth of 14.6% in 2013. Agriculture contracted by 6.6% in 2013 from last year’s 3%. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)