By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
WHILE the 6.1% economic growth of Western Visayas in 2018 was decent enough, the region aims to improve to 6.5 in 2019.
This was emphasized by Ro-Ann Bacal, director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-6, during the 2018 socio-economic report of Western Visayas on July 2, 2019.
“We hope to be able to reach a growth rate higher than 6.5 percent because that is what we need in order to have a dent in the economy. Meaning with the 6.5 you know that the economy is robust, you know that money is circulating around the economy and that business is doing good, not for all business but generally, that would be the situation,” Bacal said.
Based on the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Statistical Services Office 6, the economy of Western Visayas as measured by the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) posted a 6.1% growth in 2018, slower compared to the 8.6% in 2017.
The GRDP is the total product and services generated by a region at a certain period.
The Agriculture Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) sector slowed down the regional economy from 8.8% in 2017 to negative 1.4% in 2018.
For this reason, Bacal underscored the need to focus on agriculture and fisheries in 2019 amid the problem on El Niño in the region during the first quarter.
“In the case of the agriculture sector, I’m really disappointed knowing that my counterpart is doing her best, Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Director Remelyn Recoter is going around exerting so much effort to reach out to local government units (LGUs). We just hope that we will do better this year although may problema tayo sa El Nino recorded on the first quarter,” she said.
She also emphasized that the target growth would only be achieved through the support and contribution from the LGUS.
“Sila kasi yung on the ground. The regional offices will just provide guidance, can call out their attention and point out areas that need to be improved but ultimately when we go to the details, the details is with them,” Bacal said.
In two years, Bacal revealed that there will be more funds going to LGUs. Hence, there will be more opportunities for the local authorities to reach out to the farmers within their jurisdiction and improve the agricultural sector.
“There is a Supreme Court decision that says LGUs are entitled to all the revenues of the national government, not just the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). They will have enough money for their jurisdictions and therefore, we are now really looking at many things that will happen from now to 2022 that is very focused on enhancing the managerial capacity of the LGUs to look at their economies and be able to manage well,” she said.