Region 12’s economy expected to perk up in coming months

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 29 Apr) – Economic activities in Region 12 are seen to further perk up in the coming months, with the projected entry of more major investments and developments.

Rehabilitation of the General Santos International Airport is expected to help boost the economy of Region 12. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Noel Quiratman, assistant regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Region 12, said Monday a number of big-ticket projects from the government and the private sector are lined up in the region this year, and expected to further boost the area’s economy.

He said these are concentrated in the region’s key cities – General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan – and the “emerging new urban areas” such as Midsayap and Kabacan towns in North Cotabato, Alabel and Glan in Sarangani, Surallah and Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Lebak and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat.

“Economic activities and performance of the region will continue to improve in 2019 with more projected investments in real estate, retail industry, commercial banking, fast food chain and other service-oriented industries,” he said in a report.

These will be complemented by the continuing road expansions and construction of vital infrastructure under the national government’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” program, Quiratman pointed out.

Such projection was in response to the reported slight slowdown in the region’s economic performance in 2018 based on the area’s Gross Regional Domestic Product.

A report released last week by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the region’s economic growth declined to 6.9 percent from the previous 8.3 percent mainly due to the sluggish performance of the agriculture and fishing sectors.

Quiratman said agricultural production might suffer another setback this year due to the impact of the El Nino Phenomenon but it could be offset by the expansions in the trade services and construction sectors.

Among the ongoing major construction projects is the P959-million rehabilitation of the city international airport, which is due for completion in two years.

He said the project will improve the region’s connectivity to other major areas of the country and “hopefully to areas abroad.”

These will be complemented by other support projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Transportation, he said.

Quiratman said they expect these initiatives to “directly contribute to increasing investments, enhance economic opportunities and provide jobs in the region.”

He said the other projects that are considered of “regional significance” are the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project-Phase 2 and the Kabulnan 2 Multipurpose Irrigation Project in the provinces of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

This year, Quiratman said the initial works are slated to begin for the development of the Soccsksargen General Hospital and the South Cotabato State College in Surallah, South Cotabato.

“The people of Region 12 will have better access to health care and education services, and opportunities that will ultimately develop their full potential to compete globally,” he added. (MindaNews)