Davao Region lowers 2020 GRDP target but expects positive growth

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 August) – The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) target of Davao Region for this year has been adjusted to 3.4 percent from the original double digit estimate of 10.5-12.2 percent due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-Davao Region director Maria Lourdes Lim.

A worker cuts the steel trusses of the old building inside the Agdao Market on Monday (8 July, 2019) to pave the way for the construction of the new market facility. Construction remains a key economic driver of Davao Region. Mindanews file photo

But Lim said the agency still expects a positive growth by the end of this year, owing to the “discipline and resiliency” of the region to adhere to the minimum health standards and to adapt to the “new normal” despite the strain on the overall economic output caused by the pandemic.

She said the agency projected an average growth target of six percent for the region until the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.

“Now, with COVID-19 pandemic, we have to adjust our growth estimates for this region, and based on our analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 since the first quarter of this year 2020, our projection is that we will be growing by 3.4% for this year,” she said in her report during the virtual launch of Davao Regional Development Plan 2017-2022.

She said the region, comprising Davao City the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental and Davao de Oro, has been showing a robust growth since 2016.

She hoped the region would manage to continue the momentum despite the crisis confronting the country, with more investors pouring in fresh investments in the region’s key drivers, including tourism, real estate and agriculture.

“If I may point out, we have said earlier that Davao Region has been growing at the double digit rates since 2016 and 2017, and we hit 8.6 percent in 2018. We were the second fastest growing region throughout the country and top 1 regional economy in Mindanao,” she said.

Lim emphasized the importance of adhering to the health measures that seek to curb the spread of COVID-19, suggesting a more prudent fiscal spending on strengthening health systems, social protection programs, and infrastructure projects to provide opportunities to the people to uplift them during this crisis.

“With that momentum, we want to still lead the pace in terms of economic performance despite the crisis, that we are facing now with COVID-19, as we have said earlier, with investors still pouring in their funds in our key drivers for Davao Region, we’re confident that we will not hit a negative growth rate for the rest of this plan period all the way to 2022,” she added.

Meanwhile, Lim said that the region’s inflation rate has remained stable at two percent in the second quarter of 2020 due to the slower spike in the prices of housing, water, electricity, transport, and maintenance and furnishing of households.

Inflation rate for the same period last year stood at 3.6 percent. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)