NEDA stresses need to spread growth from 3 Luzon regions
The National Economic and Develop-ment Authority (NEDA) on Thursday emphasized the need to address in-equality in terms of development in the country, citing the latest government data, which showed a consistent concentration of growth in three specific regions in Luzon.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the National Capital Region (NCR) remains the top contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to 2015, followed by Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (Calabarzon) and Central Luzon.
The PSA said this was “primarily due to the expansion of the industry and services sectors and obvious proximity to the NCR.”
It said the contribution of the NCR to the GDP grew to 36.5 percent in 2015 from 35.7 percent in 2010, while the Calabarzon and Central Luzon posted 17.2 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.
In 2015, only these three out of 17 regions, have a per capita gross regional domestic product (GRDP) above the national average of P74,770 (at constant 2000 prices), it added.
The NCR is by far the richest region with a per capita GRDP of P219,114 or 2.9 times the national average and more than twice the level of the next richest region, Calabarzon, with a per capita GRDP of P92,285.
The NCR’s per capita GRDP is 16 times that of the poorest region, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a per capita GRDP of P13,695.
“These three regions constitute about two-thirds of the Philippine economy’s output, which means the 14 other regions share just a third of GDP. We cannot continue to focus development on these three regions and expect to reduce massive socioeconomic inequality,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Conversely, the PSA data revealed that regions with the smallest contributions to the GDP were the ARMM, Caraga, and Mimaropa.
Pernia said addressing spatial and socioeconomic inequality requires linking lagging regions with the leading counterparts through connective infrastructure such as transportation, communications, and information technology.
This way, it is much easier and cheaper to transport goods into larger markets in bigger cities and even overseas and enable people to access employment opportunities, he added.
It is also important to link economic sectors—agriculture, services, and industry, particularly manufacturing, within a region, Pernia, who is also the NEDA director general, said.
“For example, local small farmers can be organized and supported so they can supply food or raw materials to bigger businesses like food manufacturers and restaurant and grocery chains,” he said.
The NEDA chief noted it has started in selected regions and provinces through the Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (ASAPP).
“In Tuburan, Cebu, for instance, local coffee growers were provided technical assistance so that they can supply the requirements of a large local coffee chain,” Pernia said.
There must be a rebalancing of the regional infrastructure investment and growth opportunities to reduce inequality and poverty in the country, he emphasized.
“This will allow more Filipinos throughout the country to participate in the growth process and ensure that no one is truly left behind,” he said.