MY TWO CENTS’: Rise of the Regions

My Two Cents by John Tria
My Two Cents by John Tria

Econonic numbers in the regions have been released and show a trend that may very well continue for as long as Dutertenomics, and Build Build Build, continue to push infrastructure outside Metro Manila.

In a recent release from the Department of Finance, an increasing part of our national growth is shifting to regions outside the capital. To illustrate, Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in the National Capital Region (NCR) slowed down to 36.44 percent in 2017 from 36.63 percent in 2016, while Region 4-A (Calabarzon) decelerated its growth to 18.34 percent from 18.35 percent.

On the other hand, slight increases in GRDP in relation to national growth numbers were registered in non-traditional growth areas, such as the Cordillera Administrative Region with 1.69 percent in 2016 to 1.77 percent growth in 2017; Cagayan Valley, from 1.72 percent to 1.73 percent; and Soccsksargen, from 2.62 percent to 2.66 percent. Are other regions are contributing more to our nations growth? The data seems to suggest that.

Moreover, In a recent article, we saw how income inequality is so wide and biased for Metro Manila and its nearby regions, with family expenditures of Mindanao residents not even half of their Metro Manila brethren based on the 2015 Family income and expenditures Survey.

Nonetheless, recent GRDP figures show booming regions. Recent data from the NEDA notes that the regions far from Manila are experiencing 2017 growth levels that exceed the nations GDP.

Cordillera`s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) Growth Rate of 12.1 percent; Davao Region, 10.9 percent; Western Visayas, 8.4 percent; SOCCSKSARGEN, 8.2 percent; Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), 7.3 percent; Cagayan Valley, 7.2 percent.

Keep watch over these figures. They show that more regional economic activity is propelling our high 6.8 GDP. This will also be the gauge to check on whether Build Build Build is reaching the regions, and whether we in Mindanao, are feeling the effects of the 2018 increased budget allocation from the national government.

Infrastructure and its ability to draw investments has been shown to be the key driver to spreading growth. Why invest in an area without roads, telecommunications and ports. This is how CALABARZON developed.

In turn, sustaining this growth will depend on how sustainable it will be.