PH receives ‘catastrophic’ $12-B to $15-B blow from ‘Yolanda’


International risk assessment firm Kinetic Analysis Corp. (KAC) said on Tuesday that the Philippine economy may suffer $12 billion to $15 billion worth of damages (P523 billion to P654 billion) caused by Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).

Charles Watson, research and development director of KAC, said in a Bloomberg article that the Philippines lost a “catastrophic” estimate of $12 billion to $15 billion worth of damages and can have a great negative effect to the country’s quarterly gross domestic product (GDP).

“A $12 billion storm is not really that bad here in the United States. [But] for the Philippine islands, it is catastrophic,” Watson said.

Further, Joseph Foltz, Office of Environment, Energy and Climate Change deputy chief of US Agency for International Development (Usaid), attributed KAC in his Twitter account that the super typhoon “estimated to reduce the Philippine GDP [growth]by 4.8 percent to 6 percent.”

In an earlier statement that circulated on reports over the weekend, Bloomberg Industries Senior Analyst Jonathan Adams cited KAC that the typhoon’s economic impact to the country may reach $14 billion as it affected 9.7 million people in Visayas area, and have already escalated its death toll to 10,000.

But the Philippine government continued to be optimistic with the turnout of the annual GDP growth to hit 7 percent by the end of the year, as Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan  said on Sunday that quarterly GDP from the first parts of the year were above-7 percent.

“In terms of the full-year 6-percent to 7-percent growth target, we will still be able to hit the high end of the target because the first half of the year was strong,” Balisacan said in a Business Mirror article.

Though outlook on economic performance remained positive, Balisacan said that they are more worried and concerned on the lack of jobs and more poverty indications that will rise in the Visayas area amidst the calamity.

“This depends on how quickly we can put those relief and assistance on the ground,” Balisacan said.

Balisacan, who is also director general to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), also said that agriculture and services will be the hard-hit sectors in terms of employment in the area. He noted that industries will also be affected, which will have its toll on the country’s employment numbers.

The Philippines have been obtaining high scores for economic performance within the years, with first quarter posting 7.6-percent GDP growth, second quarter with 7.5 percent and the third quarter GDP expected to reach “above-7 percent” by its release on the last week of November despite rice crop destruction brought by Typhoon Santi and the 7.9-magnitude Cebu-Bohol earthquake. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO


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