DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 July) – Davao Region outperformed all the other 16 regions in the Philippines in terms of economic growth after posting a stellar gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in 2014 at 9.4 percent, , a significant increase from its 6.7-percent performance in 2013.
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) XI Director Maria Lourdes Lim said the region surpassed even the national average of 6.1 percent in 2014, which is still among the fastest growing economies in Asia.
She attributed the impressive performance to the collective efforts of the different sectors for enabling the region to sustain its high growth levels for the past three years.
Central Luzon came in the second highest with a GRDP of 9 percent, followed by Central Visayas with 8.8 percent, and Caraga with 7.8 percent. The Eastern Visayas was the lowest at -2.3 percent.
“Indeed, 2014 was a banner year for Davao Region, not only because it has sustained its high growth levels in the past three years, a very crucial prerequisite to inclusive growth, but also because it has surpassed expectation and has already achieved its growth target for 2016 or by the end of the plan period,” she said during the 2014 Report on the Economic Performance of Davao Region at the Ritz Hotel at the Garden Oases on Thursday.
Having recorded the fastest growth among 17 regions, she said Davao has maintained its position as the top economy in Mindanao when it comes to GRDP value.
In her presentation, the region contributed 3.9 percent of the P7.2-trillion Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) at constant 2,000 prices.
“Davao Region’s total production of goods and services at constant 2,000 prices was valued at P281.5 billion,” she added. “The services sector contributed the highest share at 52.2 percent, followed by the industry at 33.4 percent and agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing at 14.4 percent.”
Lim said what stirred the growth in the service sector in 2014, which was pegged at 8.3 percent as against the target of 7.1 percent, was due to the developments in the wholesale/retail, financial inter-mediation, and the real estate sub-sectors. The strategic location of the region as a financial and trading center in Southern Mindanao also jacked up its growth.
“This advantage gave way to expansion of business enterprises that increased the demand for property/real estate, condominiums and socialized housing, as well as demand for office and residential spaces,” she said while citing the expansions of shopping malls and restaurants in the region.
She also highlighted the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as one of those that had driven the local economy.
The active ICT industry in Davao City ranked first among the 37 destinations of the ICT investors, being the number 1 next wave cities since 2011.
There are 32 ICT firms employing around 21,000 full-time workers in the city. Most of the workers are coming from the voice sector comprising at least 57 percent.
The industry sector was also a key economic driver, which accelerated to 14.6 percent in 2014, surpassing the target at 7.4 percent on the back of a brighter manufacturing, mining and quarrying, and electricity, gas and water supply subsectors performances.
“Manufacturing contributed the biggest share at 66 percent and grew by 18.8 percent and surpassed its target of 8.3 percent due to sustained performance of processing industries, such as cement, food and beverages, and steel billets,” she said. Mining and quarrying posted 12.8 percent, exceeding 2014 target by two-folds at 6 percent.
Construction also posted an impressive growth with the influx of investments in private constructions coupled with increased government spending on infrastructure, including road upgrading and Typhoon Pablo rehabilitation projects. Lim also cited Tamugan Surface Water Facility worth P10 billion enrolled under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
Although it fell short by 1.6 percentage points of its target at 4 percent, the agriculture sector rebounded after suffering from -8.1 percent in 2013 to post 2.4 percent growth in 2014. The agriculture in the region dropped in 2013 after Typhoon Pablo hit in December 2012.
“Davao Region’s strong economic performance in 2014 was realized in a manageable inflation environment of 3.7 percent, which was even below the government’s target range of 4 to 5 percent,” Lim said.
Last year, the commodity exports reached $2 billion, up by 11 percent as compared to 2013. Banana remained the region’s export winner, contributing at least 45 percent of the total value of exports.
Employment in the region also grew to 94.2 percent in 2014, up by 1.1 percentage point as compared to 93.1 percent in 2013.
“The regional employment rate was higher than the national average of 93.2 percent. The increase is attributed to the robust business and investment climate in the region that created and sustained jobs,” Lim explained.