TACLOBAN CITY – The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) pointed to massive post-Yolanda reconstruction activities as the major driver in the improvement of poverty rate of the region, based on the 2015 full year report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The region’s poverty incidence among population improved to 38.7 percent in 2015 against the 45.2 percent in 2012.
Eastern Visayas is now ranked behind Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Soccsksargen in the poor list.
Based on the PSA’s Family Income and Expenditure Survey, at least 126,190 persons in the region graduated from poverty between 2012 to 2015.
“From being the poorest in 2014, we are ranked 3rd in 2015. This is a very significant improvement considering the scope of the damage that we incurred during Yolanda,” said NEDA Regional Director Bonifacio Uy.
Uy said that reconstruction activities after the 2013 supertyphoon have driven growth in the banking sector, tourism, and transportation services.
“The internal impetus coming from rehabilitation activities, as well as the revival of the business sector, induced economic growth in 2015,” he added.
NEDA noted an increase in cargo movement in both aviation and shipping industries, with the latter primarily fueled by the domestic demand for construction materials.
Land transport services and facilities resumed normal operations in 2015, hence, providing new job opportunities.
In 2015, banks had opened 14 new branches in the region, bringing the total number of banks in operation to 200.
“Multiplier effects of government spending for rehabilitation as well as increased savings and volume of remittances from international human organizations propelled the growth in deposit liabilities by 20.3 percent to P84.9 billion for the same period,” Uy explained.
Likewise tourist receipts rose by 31.8 percent to P9.3 billion as tourist arrivals registered 1.1 million, or equivalent to an addition of around 135,000 arrivals year-on-year. Hotel accommodations in major cities rose by 10 percent, with the highest increase in Tacloban City.