LEGAZPI CITY: The economic growth in the Bicol region slowed down drastically after it was hit by a series of natural disasters in 2014, according to an official from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) regional office.
Agnes M. Espinas, NEDA regional director told The Manila Times that the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) went down to 4.2 percent in 2014 from 8.1 percent in 2013.
This means that the production in the agriculture sector was lower in 2014, when various natural disasters such as typhoon Glenda and volcanic eruptions hit the region.
As a result, the income of farmers and fishermen are also lower.
“Natural disasters have a big impact to the economy of the Bicol region that triggered poverty. That’s why we’re encouraging the farmers not to stop producing crops,” Espinas added.
She said that the economy in the region slowed down due to the series of natural calamities badly affecting the agriculture sector.
“We’re heavily dependent on agriculture and the farmers are still our economic backbone,” she said.
Engr. Cynthia L. Perdiz, interim regional director of Philippine Statistics Authority told The Manila Times 42 percent of the region’s total population are within the poverty line.
This means that four out of 10 Bicolanos are poor with unstable source of income. The families with a hand-to-mouth existence, according to economic managers, need assistance because the adverse impact of climate change is getting intense.
To counter poverty, Espinas said that an alternative livelihood for poor families specifically to farmers and fishermen, should be provided with a fallback whenever a calamity hit.
Espinas underscored that farmers, who are considered the backbone and main driver of economic growth in Bicol, should planting various types of crops.
She added that intense weather conditions due to climate change aggravate the poverty incidence specifically to farmers who depend solely on agricultural production.
She hopes to restore the railway transit in Bicol like in the past decades as alternative mode of transportation to expedite the delivery of goods and services and spur economic growth in the countryside.