Reconstruction to ‘revive sagging economy’

TACLOBAN CITY, June 17 (PNA)– The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry- Eastern Visayas (PCCI EV) chapter eyes rehabilitation of areas pounded by last year’s super typhoon as “once in a lifetime chance to revive the region’s sagging economy.”

PCCI EV chapter President Robert R. Castañares said the recently approved Php53 billion funds for three areas – Tacloban City, Leyte, and Samar – is equivalent to almost eight years of public construction expenditure regionwide.

“Rehabilitation activities will certainly jumpstart our sagging economy. It is the lump sum equivalent nearly eight years of Eastern Visayas public sector construction expenditure. It is almost equal to 35 percent of the total annual output of Region 8 economy or GRDP in 2012. We should not miss this once,” Castañares said in a statement.

In the latest gross regional development product (GRDP) report (2012), all sectors have either declined or registered minimal growth except for construction, where it rebounded from a negative 17.3 percent growth in 2011 to a hefty 31.8 percent growth in 2012.

This is brought about by increased government spending in infrastructure and construction of more commercial and residential buildings throughout the region, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board.

The region’s GRDP in 2012, nosedived to a negative 6.2 percent in 2012 from a positive 2.1 percent in 2011.

The industry sector, which accounted for 38.1 percent of the GRDP, posted a negative 18.5 percent growth rate last year from a positive 1.7 percent in 2011. The manufacturing subsector growth rate plunged to a negative 40.4 percent in 2012 from a positive 6.9 percent in 2011.

The agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (AHFF) sector also contracted further with a negative 3.0 percent growth rate in 2012 from negative 0.8 percent in 2011. This was due to the decline in livestock and poultry production as well as low prices of major crops such as coconut, sugarcane and abaca.

Fishing also slumped further to negative 6.3 from negative 4.1 percent in 2011.

The services sector was the only bright spot as it expanded by 7.5 percent last year compared with 4.5 percent in 2011.

Eastern Visayas, the third poorest region in the country, is the only area that recorded negative economic growth in 2012.

The NSCB is set to release the 2013 regional economic performance next month. The impact of super typhoon Yolanda is expected to reflect in the upcoming economic report.

Meanwhile, the PCCI EV urged its members to reopen their business to respond to increasing demand for products and services due to rebuilding activities.

“Demand is what fuels a business. Our job is to supply or satisfy it. As businessmen that is what we do. If we do not do it now investors from other regions or countries will do it for us. So maybe enough of our fears and self-doubts let us open our stores, create more jobs, and start counting money,” Castañares added. (PNA)