Davao region trails Zambo in economic growth for 2009

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 Aug) — Davao region ranks second, next Zamboanga peninsula, on economic performance in Mindanao for the year 2009 with an economic growth of 3.7 percent in 2008 to 5.4 percent last year, the National Statistical Board (NSCB) reported.

The NSCB attributed the growth to favorable performance of the services sector such as trade, transport and communications sectors. The service sector, which comprises 41.2 percent of Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), is the biggest contributor to the region’s economy with 4.3 percent growth last year compared to 3.3 percent in 2008.

While these sectors posted robust growth in 2009, the agriculture sector — such as banana, coconut and poultry production — decelerated from 2 percent in 2008 down to 0.5 percent in 2009.

In a news conference here today, Estrella Turingan, head of NSCB Region 11, said even if the region ranked second next to Zamboanga peninsula, it is still luckier because the growth is not fluctuating unlike other regions.

Turingan cited Zamboanga region’s rank in the previous years that would go up and down every year.

She cited the canning industry, fishing and agriculture as the economic drivers of Zamboanga peninsula with an economic growth of 6.8 percent.

In Zamboanga City alone, eight sardine canning factories are located in the city and about 20 commercial fishing companies are operating.

“It’s still better that we in Region 11 are in the second place because we still have stable and balanced economy. Our growth is continuous,” Turingan stressed.

But she admitted that the realignment of Socsksargen region from Region 11 to Region 12 was a major struggle for the economic growth of Region 11.

Socsksargen, which stands for South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City, used to be part of Region 11 along with Davao provinces but was transferred to Region 12 in 2001.

But despite the realignment, Turingan said that Region 11’s growth has eventually recovered and continuously improved.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region 11 officer-in-charge Noel Quiratman said that the pineapple and tuna industry of Socsksargen were among the major economic drivers in the region.

In the services sector, the highest contributor to the economic growth is trade that posted a hike of 2.7 percent in 2009 from 2 percent in 2008, the report added.

In the agriculture, fishery and forestry (AFF) sector, which contributed 24.4 percent to the region’s economy, forestry posted the deep plunge at 53.6 percent in 2009 from 104.8 percent in 2008.

Next to Davao region is Northern Mindanao (2.9 percent), Caraga (2.7 percent), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (2.6) and Socsksargen (1.3 percent).

The report also added that construction has contributed the most to the growth of the industry sector with a staggering hike from 5.5 percent in 2008 to 19.6 percent last year.

It further said that the industry sector is the biggest contributor, which comprises 34.4 percent of the region’s economy, posting 10.2 percent growth in 2009 compared to 5.4 percent in 2008.

“Such boost was mainly brought about by the remarkable growth in construction and a better performance on electricity and water,” the report added.

The NSCB added that the notable boom in private constructions as well as increase in government infrastructure projects led to the 19.6 percent increase of the construction sector in 2009 from 5.5 percent in 2008.

Although Davao region is among the mineral-rich regions in Mindanao, the mining sector’s performance slowed down last year. It only posted a growth of 3 percent compared to 8.7 percent in 2008.

Quiratman blamed the global recession from 2007 to 2008 that hit the global market and led to the drastic drop of prices of minerals, particularly gold.

He also blamed the bureaucratic process in the government that caused delays of mining permits.

“Some mining permit applications take eight years before it will be approved by the concerned government agencies,” he told reporters.

In the agriculture sector, Quiratman added that the deceleration is brought about by the fluctuating market prices as well as climate change that has affected production. (Keith Bacongco/ MindaNews)