Davao region hits double-digit growth

THE REGION’S economy reached a double-digit growth for the first time, hitting 10.9% last year from 9.5% in 2016.This, amid the imposition of Martial Law in 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) bared.

Rosendo Aya-ay, chief statistical specialist of PSA-XI, said yesterday in the presentation of the 2017 Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) at Apo View Hotel that the economy of the region was pulled by the industry sector, which was the biggest contributor of the growth at 7%.

Aya-ay said the improvement of the industry sector was attributed to the rise of manufacturing and construction in the region especially with the government’s infrastructure programs. The other sectors such as services and agriculture, meanwhile, contributed 3.8% and 0.2%, respectively.

The region, he said, is also the second fastest growing economy in the country next to Cordillera Administrative Region that reached 12.1%.

“Among the 17 regions, Davao Region stands as the fifth biggest economy and the biggest among Mindanao regions,” Aya-ay said, as the region’s economy amounted to P370 billion last year from P333 billion in 2016.

Maria Lourdes Lim, regional director of National Economic and Development Authority XI, said the region achieved the high growth even with Martial Law, which was declared beginning May last year for entire Mindanao.

She said the Martial Law declaration only caused a slight impact especially on the tourism industry that suffered a decline in tourist arrivals though it eventually bounced back in the second semester.

As of Sept. last year, the Department of Tourism XI recorded 2.063 million tourists, which dropped from 2.161 million in the same period of 2016.

“In the midst of all these opportunities to sustain growth of Davao Region, we are cognizant of the challenges that we continue to face in 2018. Among them the threats of global terrorism and domestic insurgency as well as the increasing vulnerability of communities to disaster risks and climate change,” Lim said.

Amid the challenges, Lim said they are optimistic to sustain the double-digit growth especially now that the government is setting up projects that could help spur the economy and generate employment in the region.

Among the projects, she said, include the Davao City coastal road, Davao Food Exchange Complex, Tagum-Davao-Digos line of the Mindanao Railway System, Davao-Samal bridge, improvement of Davao International Airport, modernization of Sasa Port, Davao Fish Port Complex, New Agdao Public Market and other roads.

Under the Davao Regional Development Plan 2017-2022, Lim said the region is targeted to hit 9.5% to 10.5% in economic growth, which was already surpassed last year. By 2022, she said they hoped to achieve 11% in economic growth.

Arturo Milan, president of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said they hoped that the region would continue to maintain the growth momentum by attracting investors that would venture in the three key sectors such as agriculture, industry and services.

“It should be a three-legged economy, where all the sectors such as agriculture, industry and services will be improved,” Milan said, as those could also help boost jobs in the region.

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