Region 12 is top economic performer in Mindanao in 2013

GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/31 July) — Region 12 or Soccsksargen’s economy grew at an all-time high of 8.4 percent in 2013, taking the top spot in the entire Mindanao in terms of overall economic performance.

Herlita Caraan, National Statistical Coordination Board Region 12 head, said Thursday the region’s industry and services sectors continued to grow at a faster rate last year, pulling up the area’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) rate by an additional 0.4 percent from 2012.

She said the region’s accelerated growth was significantly higher than the country’s total output last year that reached an average of 7.2 percent.

“Region 12 was the fastest-growing economy in Mindanao last year and the third in the entire country,” she said in a press conference at the Sun City Suites here.

She said the region only placed second to Caraga in the entire Mindanao and fifth among the country’s 17 regions in terms of economic performance in 2012.

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

Caraan said the services sector remained as the top contributor to the regional economy in 2013, accounting for a share of 37.6 percent, which is slightly higher than the 37.3 percent that it posted in 2012.

“Services grew faster from 8.1 percent in 2012 to 9.4 percent in 2013 as all of its sub-sectors have expanded,” she said.

She noted that financial intermediation surged to 13.1 percent last year from 12.6 percent in 2012, mainly due to the improved performances of banks and other related financial institutions in the region.

The trading and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal and household goods recorded a faster growth of 12.2 percent last year from 9 percent in 2012 as spurred by the expansions and opening of new shopping malls and other commercial establishments in the area, she said.

Caraan said the transport, storage and communication as well as other related services also posted significant growths during the period.

For the industry sector, the official said its share to the total economic output also increased from 32.8 percent in 2012 to 33.8 percent last year.

She said it recorded a higher growth rate of 11.6 percent in 2013 or up from the 10.3 percent in 2012.

The increase mainly came from the surge in construction activities in the area, which nearly tripled in terms of growth rate from 6.4 percent in 2012 to 17.1 percent in 2013 due to expansions in both private and public construction sectors, she said.

Caraan said the electricity, gas and water supply sector posted a significant growth from five percent in 2012 to 12.6 percent in 2013 due to the acquisition of the diesel-fired modular generators sets of the area’s electric cooperatives.

She said manufacturing, which accounted for the bulk of the industry sector, slowed down to 10.1 percent in 2013 from 12 percent in 2012, while mining and quarry dropped to 4.4 percent last year from 12.1 percent in 2012.

The slowdown in manufacturing and mining and quarry sub-sectors were attributed to the long rotational brownouts that affected the region last year and the regulation of small-scale mining and quarry activities by some local government units.

Caraan said the improved output of the industry and services sectors made up for the slight decrease in the overall output of the agriculture, hunting, fishery and forestry (AHFF), which only contributed 28.6 percent last year from 29.9 percent in 2012.

She said the AHFF sector grew at a slower pace from 5.4 percent in 2012 to 3.5 percent last year due to the significant drop in the fishing sub-sector’s productivity.

The official said fishing posted a growth rate of negative 0.3 percent last year from 16.8 percent in 2012 due to the imposition of the partial ban on tuna fishing in the Western Pacific Ocean from July to October last year.

She said agriculture and forestry made some improvement, slightly expanding from 3.2 percent in 2012 to 4.3 percent in 2013.

“The industry sector was the top contributor to the regional economic growth in 2013 with 3.8 percentage points followed by the service sector that chipped in 3.5 percent and AHFF with 1.1 percent,” Caraan added. (MindaNews)