Bicol emerges No.1 in PH regional economies

By Cet Dematera


The economy of Bicol region prior to the Covid-19 pandemic has posted a surprising growth, surpassing economies in all the regions in the country, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.


PSA-Bicol director Cynthia Perdiz said that Bicol emerged as the fastest growing economy with 7.4 percent growth rate with an equivalent whooping value of P560.47-billion in 2019, even as it remains in its set target in the Bicol Regional Development Plan for the five-year period, or from 2017 to 2022.


Perdiz said that the major contributors to this fastest economic growth are in industry, services and agriculture, forestry and fisheries.


In the industry sector, Perdiz said that “services” was the fastest at 10 percent.


National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Bicol regional director Agnes Tolentino said that the growth in agriculture, forestry and fisheries is due to the implementation of major agricultural support facilities and projects in that year.


Tolentino said these support facilities include construction of farm to market roads, aggressive implementation of enterprise development subprojects, and the provision of cash incentives to farmers.


“The fishery as well as livestock and poultry production had posted an increase despite the weather disturbances, threat of African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, and higher prices of animal feeds, and other production inputs,” Tolentino noted.


She said this increase could be attributed to the distribution of semen straws, drugs and biologics to farmers, and the effective preventive measures to contain the spread of ASF.


Also significantly contributing to the growth were the three international events and four regional trade fairs that generated more than P100-million in sales under the initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bicol.


Tolentino said the events were participated by close to 500 micro, small and medium enterprises.


“This DTI spearheaded project dubbed as “Orgullo Kan Bikol” continuously reaps opportunities for home-grown entrepreneurs for them to develop, find new markets, and become more competitive,” Tolentino said.


NEDA-Bicol also reported that the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education or UNIFAST and the implementation of the K to 12 enhanced curriculum have provided more learning opportunities at different levels of education of the Bicolanos.


At least 21,376 tertiary education subsidy grantees for the first batch of the school year 2018 to 2019 amounting to around P1.1 billion, spearheaded by the Commission on Higher Education. (CHED), has also fanned the region’s economic growth.