CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Northern Mindanao will need almost P198 billion in investments in the next two years to recover from the economic slump brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is based on the Regional Recovery Program (RRP) drawn up by the Regional Development Council (RDC), composed of government and private sector representatives.
“We have worked together to come up with the RRP that requires an investment of P197.6 billion for 2020-2022 to address the various consequences and impact of COVID-19,” said National Economic Development Authority Region X (NEDA-10) Director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño.
“But the truth is, it is not only us that needs investments, the other regions as well, and we know that funds are scarce. Nevertheless, our recovery programs are already in place,” Cariño added.
Northern Mindanao is the second biggest economy in Mindanao, next to Davao Region.
According to a report of the regional office of NEDA, “Based on the initial estimates of the NEDA-X on COVID-19’s direct impact [on] the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) at current prices, potential output of the region may [be reduced] by almost 5%, from the expected output of P839.7 billion at current prices to P800.6 billion.”
“The reduction in output is pulled by the effect of the quarantine measures [on] the services sector, primarily from the wholesale and retail and other services sub-sector that includes the hospitality services and entertainment that accommodate more than 40% of the total employment in the region,” the report said.
Instead of the projected 10.6% growth in 2020 before the pandemic, the regional economy will grow by only 4.4%.
Among the hardest hit were the services sector, particularly wholesale and retail, and the tourism-related firms, specifically accommodation establishments.
The industry sector, particularly firms operating non-essential production activities, was also hit.
While essential production activities were allowed in the agriculture sector during the period, a number of firms were still affected due to the non-operation of food and other establishments, where agriculture is an intermediate demand.
As a result, a total of 4,261 workers in the agriculture sector were affected.
The estimated losses of the tourism industry in 60 days, between March 15 to May 15, were around P1.415 billion.
There are 236,000 persons who are now jobless in Northern Mindanao. Philippine Statistics Authority Region X Director Ruben Abaro Jr said that the region saw an unemployment rate of 11.1%, much lower than the national average of 17.7%.
Cariño, however, said the region’s unemployment figure is not as bad as the other regions’. She attributed this to the region’s agriculture industry, which helps buoy the region’s economy.
To counter this economic slump, NEDA-10 needs to spend P150.2 billion for social services in the next two years.
Of the P197.6 billion needed for the Regional Recovery Program, P150.2 billion or 76% should go to social services; P14 billion (7.1%) for economic activities; P23.7 billion for transportation; P2.1 billion for environment, and P7.4 billion for governance and crosscutting concerns. – Rappler.com