Davao Region posts 9.4% growth in 2016, 3rd highest in PH

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 May) – Davao Region’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) grew by 9.4% in 2016, the highest among Mindanao’s six regions and the third highest among 18 regions in the country.

Davao Region’s 2016 performance outpaced the 8.2% recorded in 2015. It also outgrew the 6.9% national GDP.

According to the May 2017 report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 11, the region remained as the fastest growing in Mindanao, followed by Northern Mindanao (7.6%), SOCCSKSARGEN (5%), Zamboanga Peninsula (4.7%), Caraga (2.5%), and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (.3%), the lowest.

Eastern Visayas (12.4%) and Central Luzon (9.5%) are the highest.

In a press conference on the 2016 Economic Performance of Davao Region at the Royal Mandaya Hotel here Thursday, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-11 director Maria Lourdes Lim said the service sector contributed the biggest share to the region’s economic performance at 51.1%, followed by industry sector (36.7%), and agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (12.2%).

The services sector registered a sustained growth of 7.5% for 2015 until 2016, the PSA 11 report said.

Lim said this sector was valued at P170.2 billion in 2016, surpassing the “lower limit target of 7.4%” on the back of a strong financial and trade subsectors.

The improved performance was also attributed to the recovery of the exports during the second half of 2016, Lim said, while noting that Cavendish bananas remained as the region’s top export commodity and gold in semi-manufactured form among the top 10 commodities.

Lim said Information Communications Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (ICT-BPO) continued to expand. The region already has 32 ICT firms with more than half operating in the “voice” sector.

On agriculture, forestry, and fishery sector, she said it slightly contracted by 1.3% due to the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon during the first half of 2016.

But she hopes it would recover as the Department of Agriculture has committed to help the farmers.

Lim said they are also cognizant of the challenges that the region faces this year onwards due to more competition in the light of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community (AEC).

She said the country then must address global terrorism, including domestic insurgencies, and the increasing vulnerability of our communities in disaster risk and climate change.

Meanwhile, the industry sector, which was valued at P122.1 billion in 2016, grew the fastest at 16.5% last year compared with 12.2% recorded for the same period in 2015.

Lim said the performance industry sector surpassed the planned target range of 12% to 13% with all subsectors recording double-digit growth rates.

Among the industry sector’s growth drivers, she said, the subsector on electricity, gas, and water registered the fastest growth of 44.5% last year compared with 16.1% growth in 2015 due to the operationalization of the San Miguel Corp.’s 300MW coal-fired power plant in Malita in Davao Occidental.

The region also had new energy projects which were commissioned in 2016, like the Aboitiz-owned 150 MW Therma South Inc. and the 10MW solar power in Digos City, Davao del Sur.

The construction subsector remained strong with an impressive growth of 25.8% last year as compared with 10.2% of the same period in 2015.

At the rate Davao Region is growing, Lim said she is confident the region will achieve its 2017 target between 8.6% to 9.6% due to the priority given to the development of Mindanao and Davao Region with the accelerated government spending to fast-track the implementation of big ticket projects like the Davao By-Pass Road, Davao City Coastal Road Development Project, Davao Food Terminal Complex, and initial phase of the Mindanao Rail System – Tagum-Davao-Digos line.

Lim said the Philippine chairmanship of the ASEAN this year will also further benefit the region.

She said she believes the Davao-GenSan-Bitung, Indonesia roll on/roll off shipping service will boost the region’s growth.

“By all indications, we are optimistic to be able to achieve our targets in 2017. We are mindful, however, that we need to go beyond economic progress if our aim is to achieve inclusive growth and faster poverty reduction. We should continue to be on the lookout for opportunities and remain mindful of threats so we can sustain our growth momentum,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)