Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that recent natural disasters such as Typhoon Santi (international codename: Nari) and the recurring quake in Bohol and Cebu would only have “minimal” effect on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for third and fourth quarter of the year.
“The impact of [Typhoon] Santi and other disasters on third and fourth quarter [GDP] growth is likely to be minimal,” Balisacan said in a text message, who is also the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Compared to the Philippines’ over 7-percent quarterly growth, Balisacan said that the quake that rocked Cebu and Bohol, as well as neighboring areas, will only have less than a half percent impact on the country’s economic growth.
“Based on the current estimate of damage, the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu is likely to have reduced GDP growth by no more than one-half of one percentage point,” Balisacan said.
The NEDA director general was referring to the total P867.2 million cost of damage in Bohol and Cebu as of Monday noon. About 39 bridges, 18 roads and 45,641 houses were affected, if not destroyed, by the quake which started at 7.2-magnitude on Tuesday last week.
Aside from the basic infrastructure damages, a number of heritage sites, murals and establishments were also ravaged which is said to have a large impact on the country’s tourism industry such as the Basilica del Santo Niño and Fort San Pedro in Cebu, as well as the Baclayon, Loboc and Daius Churches in Bohol.
Earlier reports said that tourist flights Cebu and Bohol were cancelled, in which the Department of Tourism (DOT) said that they have transferred the tourists to Puerto Princesa. Not only incoming tourists, but also tourists in the Cebu and Bohol also withdrew their stay in the area mainly from hotels which were also affected by the quake.
So far, the earthquake recorded total of 186 deaths—173 in Bohol, 12 in Cebu and one in Siquijor—while there were also 583 injured and 11 missing people.
From the start of the quake last Tuesday, over 2,000 aftershocks have been recorded that drove some 100,000 residents to stay at evacuation centers. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO