TACLOBAN CITY- The region’s economy registered a measly 1.8 percent growth in 2017, a huge slump compared to the 12.4 percent growth rate in 2016.
This was announced by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)’s regional director Wilma Perante on Thursday (April 26) who said that the decline was mainly due to the sluggish performance of the industry sector.
The 1.8 percent growth of the region was the lowest among the country’s 17 regions.
The industry sector, which contributed 42.6 percent to the regional economy, only recorded a growth rate of 1.7 percent.
The figure was far from the 2016 growth rate of 19.5 percent which was partly due to the poor performance of industries located at the Leyte Industrial Development Estate, the only economic zone of the region located in Isabel, Leyte.
Also pulling down the region’s economic growth was the construction sector which only posted a 21.0 percent growth rate which was lower compared to the 2016 record of 42.4 percent.
The construction sector, which falls on the industry category, was partly driven by projects relative to the rehabilitation program of the government on areas hit by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ like housing projects.
The region’s growth rate was far from the projected 5.2 to 5.7 percent made by the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022.
“We should still be happy because our economy in Eastern Visayas is growing though not that fast compare to 2016,” Perante said.
The massive 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Leyte on July 6 and the series of typhoons experienced by the region during the same period were also cited as the reasons why the economy contracted.
For one, the earthquake resulted in the economic loss to the power sector pegged at P37.8 million by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
However, the tremor, which resulted power shutdown all over the region for close to three weeks, was estimated to result to a daily economic loss of P300 million to various industries.
“We have yet to recover from the adverse effects of these 2017 disasters. Even from Yolanda, some projects are still due for completion, especially resettlement,” NEDA Assistant Regional Director Meylene Rosales, reading the message of her director, Bonifacio Uy.
She added that 2016 saw the ‘peak’ of the Yolanda-related rehabilitation projects, notably the resettlement projects reason why the region’s economic growth reached to 12.4 percent.
“The delayed implementation of government Yolanda resettlement projects contributed to the decline in public construction,” Rosales said.
Meantime, the agriculture and fishing sector, posted a 0.1 percent growth rate, a decline of 2.3 percent from the 2016 record; services sector recorded a 6.2 percent growth which was lower compare to the 8.4 percent of 2016.
Other services which include hotels and restaurants industry, also posted a negative growth rate of 0.9 percent.