Bicol economy posted 22.3B growth last year

By Mar S. Arguelles


LEGAZPI CITY --- As the Bicol economy has immensely coped with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and natural calamities, it however has bounced by posting a 4.3 percent or P22.3 billion growth last year in the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) here said.


Cynthia Perdiz, PSA regional director said the economic rebound was fueled by at least three growing industries, mining, quarrying, human health, and social work activities and construction.


Perdiz while there were industries that logged positive growth, agriculture, forestry, and fishing has suffered a significant slumped with a -3.1 percent plunged equivalent to P89.7 billion from a P92.5 billion in 2020 and P93.7 billion in 2019.


The poor economic performance in the AFF was mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, African Swine Fever (ASF), Fall Armyworm infestation, global price hike in prices of inputs, and weather disturbances causing Php5.15 million and Php6.18 million agricultural and fisheries damages.


Livestock, fishing, and abaca production contributed much to the decline. The abaca production was down by 40.1 percent from 21,946.2 MT in 2020 and recorded an 11- year low. The production of large animals, specifically hog production dropped due to ASF.


The ASF combined with the COVID-19 pandemic caused a massive drop in pork supply and increased the price by as much as Php350/kilo.


The total fishery production contracted at 11.68 percent. The municipal fishery production which accounts for more than half of the fishery sector's total output decreased by 16.83 percent due to weather disturbances brought by Typhoon Jolina and Super Typhoon Odette.


Another industry that suffered the economic impact brought by COVID-19 and disaster events was the transportation and storage logging a -6.1 percent or P13.7 billion a significant slide from the P14.6 billion recorded in 2020 and P23.5 billion in 2019.


Perdiz in a phone interview on Saturday said to sum up Bicol’s economic performance from 2019 to2021 the GRDP of Bicol made an economic turn posting a P540.1 growth rate in 2021 from the P517,8 billion in 2020 and P564.9 billion in 2019.


Perdiz said other industries that posted a positive growth last year include: construction, finance, and public administration.


Meanwhile, Agnes Tolentino NEDA regional director said in 2018 and 2019, Bicol’s economy was the fastest-growing economy in the country, however, in 2020 it failed to meet its annual target of 6.7 to 7.7 percent growth set under the Bicol Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017 to 2022.


She however said that despite the improvement, these economic gauges are still below the annual target range of 6.7 percent to 7.7 percent growth set under the Updated Bicol Regional Development Plan (RDP)2017 to 2022.


The Bicol Region, along with the other six regions, registered a GRDP growth rate that was lower than the country's economic growth of 5.7 percent in 2021.


Of the 17 regions, Bicol Region's GRDP growth rate remained second lowest next to MIMAROPA Region.


In terms of regional share or our contribution to the national economy, Bicol recorded a measly 2.9 percent in 2021.