Ex-RDC chairman sees: Improved Bicol economy in last quarter of 2022
By Cet Dematera
Incoming Albay Governor Noel Rosal, former chairman of the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC), has expressed optimism that the region’s economy would start to improve in the last quarter of the year due to the ongoing opening of businesses that could provide employment to those who lost jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am optimistic that the continuing opening of the region’s economy will boost employment growth until it finally goes back to its pre-pandemic condition before this year ends,” Rosal said.
He said that though the annual average inflation of Bicol from 2019 to 2021 has increased from 2.7 to 6.1, the average inflation rate from January to May this year has already improved to 3.7.
“If this trend will continue, then we could expect a better economic condition in the region at least in the last three months of this year,” Rosal said.
Rosal also considered the very high growth rates that Bicol had posted before the pandemic that reached as high as 8.9 percent in 2018 and 7.4 percent in 2019 as a “blessing in disguise.”
“These very high growth rates had cautioned the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. We could have suffered the worst brunt in our economic condition in Bicol,” Rosal added.
In the gradually improving Bicol economy, Rosal is factoring in the completion and operations of the Bicol International Airport (BIA), which was inaugurated on October 7, 2021 with a fund allocation of P4.792-Billion under the Local Infrastructure Program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
There is no doubt that the operations of this international airport is now gradually spurring economic activities in Bicol, particularly in Albay and the adjacent provinces.
“Businesses will now start to open up to cater to the needs of the travelers coming to Bicol, such as transportation services, and hotels and restaurants,” Rosal said.
He also commended local leaders for pooling their efforts together that resulted to the construction of several road networks that are now giving easy access to and from the international airport.
“Without these mega highways constructed, it would be very difficult to access the airport considering its location that is a plateau in Daraga town,” Rosal said.
Rosal is also optimistic that once the international airport becomes fully-operational, it will become a major gateway to Bicol by international visitors.
“We could now showcase are tourist destinations in Albay and in the neighboring provinces in Bicol,” Rosal added.