GENERAL SANTOS CITY – A sluggish performance of the agriculture and fishery sectors caused Region 12’s economic growth to slow down to 6.9 percent in 2018, but officials said the overall indicators showed that the area's economy remained "robust."
Maqtahar Manulon, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-12 regional director, said Thursday the region's Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) growth rate dropped by 1.4 percent from the previous year.
He said agricultural, hunting, forestry and fishing (AHFF) production, which pulled up the region's GRDP to 8.3 percent in 2017, only managed a growth rate of 2.5 percent in 2018 from the previous 8.7 percent.
Agriculture and forestry decelerated from 8.2 to 3.8 percent and fishing from 11.2 to -3.9 percent, he said.
"This was mainly due to the noted decrease in production of corn, poultry and livestock. Fishing also slumped because of the decline in municipal fishery output," he said in a press conference here.
Manulon said the industry sector sustained its momentum last year, though at a slower growth of 8 percent from 8.4 percent in 2017 despite posting positive growths in all of its sub-sectors.
A report released by PSA-12 showed that construction went up by 13.6 percent, maintaining its double digit growth of 10.2 percent in 2017, while electricity, gas and water slightly went down from 7 to 5 percent.
Manufacturing, which accounts for the bulk of the industry sector, slowed down from 10.3 to 6.6 percent, and mining and quarry from 8 to 5.6 percent.
The services sector further expanded to 8.4 percent in 2018 from the previous 7.8 percent due to higher growths in its four sub-sectors.
Public administration and defense, and compulsory social security went up from 7.2 to 13.6 percent; transportation, storage and communication from 6.1 to 8.4 percent; trade and repair from 7.9 to 8.8 percent; and, financial intermediation from 7.9 to 8.3 percent.
Real estate, renting and business activities slowed down from 6.5 to 4.4 percent and other services from 10.6 to 8.3 percent.
Overall, AHFF contribution to the region's total economic output dropped from 23 percent in 2017 to 22 percent last year while the share of industry expanded from 36.8 to 37.2 percent and services also increasing from 40.2 to 40.8 percent.
Manulon said Region 12, which moved down to 10th from 5th place in terms of economic performance last year, was among the nine of the 17 regions in the country that recorded lower GRDP growth rates.
"But we're still higher than the national growth rate of 6.2 percent," he said, noting that 12 regions posted lower growths than the national average.
In terms of the total value of final goods and services, he said the region's production reached P246.69 billion in 2018 from P230.78 billion in the previous year.
Noel Quiratman, National Economic and Development Authority-12 assistant regional director, said the region's 6.9-percent growth rate last year was considered a positive accomplishment for the area.
"While the GRDP growth rate was slower, it still reflects that our region's economy continues to be robust. A growth rate of above 6 percent means that an economy is doing good overall," he said.
He said they expect the region's economy to further expand this year, with the entry of more investments and the surge in public infrastructure projects under the flagship "Build, Build, Build" program.