R-12 economy improved last year – NSCB

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/31 July) – Region 12’s economic performance significantly improved in 2011 as the area’s agriculture and industrial sectors continued to gain momentum from their expansions and operational improvements in the last two years.

Herlita Caraan, National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Region 12 director, said the region’s increased industrial, agriculture and fisheries productivity pulled up its economic growth or Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) last year to four percent or up by two percent from 2010.

She said the region’s accelerated growth was slightly higher than the country’s total output last year that reached an average of 3.9 percent.

“(Region 12) was one of the five regions in the country that posted accelerated growths from 2010 to 2011,” she said in a press conference here.

She said the region is now drawing closer to its record growth of 4.5 percent that was posted in 2008. Region 12 was then regarded as the country’s third fastest growing region.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Caraan said agriculture, hunting, fishery and forestry (AHFF), which account for 30.2 percent of the region’s economy, posted a 2.2 percent growth in 2011 after falling to -2.7 percent in 2010.

She said agriculture and forestry mainly rebounded to a 4.8-percent growth last year from a dismal performance of -1.3 percent in the previous year.

“The improved performance of AHFF was due to higher yields from the region’s major crops such as palay, corn, sugarcane, banana, coconut, rubber and cassava. Poultry, as well as, municipal fishery and aquaculture also turned in better performances in 2011,” she said, citing a report from the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

Caraan said the industry sector also helped improve the area’s economic performance after it expanded by 5.5 percent in 2011 from 2.9 percent the previous year.

She said the industry sector, which comprised 31.2 percent of the total regional economic output, was mainly carried by the manufacturing subsector, which posted an impressive growth of 14.6
percent from its pale performance of 0.2 percent in 2010.

The significant growth in the manufacturing subsector cushioned the slump in construction and the weaker growths posted by mining and quarrying as well as electricity, gas and water supply, she noted.
Caraan said construction slowed down to negative 15.2 percent from a positive growth of 14.9 percent in the previous year.

Electricity, gas and water supply posted a modest growth of two percent in 2011 from a 4.3 percent expansion in 2010 while mining and quarrying posted slower growth of 6.5 percent from a high growth of 27.7 percent in 2010, she said.

On the other hand, Caraan said the services sector nosedived to a 4.3- percent growth in 2011 from the 5.4 percent growth in posted in 2010.

The lump in the services sector, which accounted for the biggest share of the regional economy at 38.5 percent, was brought about by slower growths in trade and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal and household goods that went down from 9.4 to 3.5 percent.

Financial intermediation decreased to 4.7 from 7.6 percent while public administration and defense, and compulsory social security went down to negative 1.7 from a robust growth of 11.2-percent in 2010.

“The aggregate adverse impact of these three subsectors was not able to cushion the improvements posted by other services that grew by 3.5 percent from 2.7 percent; transport, storage and communication, posting a growth of 7.4 percent from 1.1 percent; and, real estate,
renting and business activity that expanded by 7 percent in 2011 from 4.3 percent in 2010,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)