The 2021 Cordillera Regional Development Report is an assessment of the region’s performance vis-à-vis its planned targets set in the Cordillera Regional Development Plan 2017-2022. It also includes strategies and recommendations to ensure the attainment of the goals laid in the RDP. Data and information in the Results Matrices (RM) contributed by regional line agencies, local government units, state universities and colleges, and other stakeholders were utilized in the assessment of the region’s overall performance.
As mobility restrictions eased and economic activities gradually opened, the region’s gross domestic product (GRDP) rebounded from ₱288.88 billion in 2020 to ₱310.59 billion in 2021. This is a 7.5 percent improvement compared to the 10.2 percent contraction in 2020.
The growth of the region’s economy is evidenced by the increase in gross value added (GVA) of both the industry and services sector. Manufacturing was industry’s biggest contributor with growth rate of 17.1 percent in 2021 from the 18.9 percent contraction in 2020. For the services sector, both the Accommodation and Food Services Activities, and Human Health and Social Work Activities grew the fastest with 16.2 percent in 2021. The agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector retained a slow growth at negative 1.7 percent in 2021 from negative 2.2 percent in 2020.
Similarly, the region saw improvement in the employment situation of CAR with a labor force participation rate of 64.2 percent, significantly higher than the 62.0 percent in 2020. Employment rate likewise increased to 94.9 percent while the unemployment rate declined to 5.1 percent. However, the region needs to refocus its strategies toward bringing the underemployment rate down by 2022 as it increased by 8.3 percentage points in 2021 from 17.4 percent in 2020.
The poverty incidence in the region remains a priority despite a slight decrease at 16.2 percent as of the first semester of 2021 from 17.9 percent in the first semester of 2018. Correspondingly, the region needs to implement measures to alleviate the effects of price increase in basic goods and services. CAR recorded an inflation rate increase of 2 percent in 2021.
In support of protecting and rehabilitating the region’s natural resources, a total of 3,510 hectares of open and denuded areas were reforested by 824 people’s organizations. This is 19% of the targeted 18,157 hectares under the region’s Reforestation Plan 2021-2025.
Two protected areas under E-NIPAS namely the: 1) Banao Protected Landscape (HBN 9320); and 2) Mt. Pulag (HBN 9325) were approved by the Congress as protected sites on 27 September 2021. The region also continued to monitor CAR’s air quality and water quality which showed good results.
Further, six Minahang Bayan were declared in 2021 namely: 1) Roger Canipas of Conner, Apayao; 2) Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Miners Assn., Inc (CESSMAI) in Tuba, Benguet; 3) Ag-agit Small-Scale Mining Multipurpose Coop in Baay-Licuan, Abra; 4) Bulawan Land Owners Association in Calanasan, Apayao; 5) Paul A. Delwasen of Calanasan, Apayao; and 6) The federation of Taneg Indigenous Communities Livelihood Association in Mankayan, Benguet. This brings minahang bayan in CAR to a total of 11. Programs on mine waste and pollution management, safety and health protection measures which will benefit small-scale miners and their communities, is expected to be implemented with the establishment of these Minahang Bayan.
Efforts to strengthen the healthcare sector continued as evidenced by the increase in inoculation rate of Cordillerans with 81.91 percent of the population fully vaccinated. Similarly, health insurance coverage and provision of benefit packages were sustained in the region covering 102.50% of the total population count. There is a need to ramp-up efforts to increase the proportion of fully-immunized children in the region as it recorded a decrease of 0.29 percentage point from 67.91 in 2020 to 67.62 in 2021.
Despite the setbacks brought about by the pandemic in the education sector, the number of enrollees in tertiary education increased to 32,422 from 27,129 as reported by six state universities and colleges in the region. Amid a lower TVET certification rate of 90.29 percent in 2021 from 92.25 percent in 2020, there is a noticeable improvement in the employability of TVET graduates in 2021 which increased to 87 percent compared to 65 percent in 2021. The net enrolment rate for kinder, junior and senior high school also improved in 2021. More effort is needed to increase the net enrolment rate for elementary which decreased from 91.40 percent in 2020 to 87.53 percent in 2021.
In 2021, an additional 29.15 kilometers of paved national roads in the region was completed. This is geared toward CAR’s goal to regional integration as it provides access for economic and social activities. Further, the region saw newly serviced areas of 39.86 hectares and 27 hectares as a result of additional national irrigation and community irrigation services, respectively.
As the region transitioned to a new normal, the information and communications technology sector aggressively implemented the Free WiFi for All Program which provided free access to internet service across CAR. A total of 320 active sites were established in public places in 2021, a significant increase from the 133 active sites established in 2020. The provision of this service also reached the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage Areas (GIDA) and Covid-19 facilities in the region, establishing 141 active sites.
Development Administration Sector
To ensure inclusive and sustainable peace, the region was able to organize and activate 1,111 Local Task Forces to End Local Communists Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) in 2021. Comprising of these are the 6 provinces, 1 city, and 1,028 municipalities in CAR. This is an increase from the 976 LTF-ELCAC organized and activated in 2020. Twenty projects under the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) were also implemented in eight CTG-cleared barangays for 2021.
With the transition towards full devolution among LGUs, the region topped the submission of barangay Development Transition Plan (DTP) with 100 percent completion in 2021. The province of Ifugao was the first to complete its provincial DTP.
Indigenous Peoples Sector
The region has shown improvement in valuing the unique and diverse Cordillera culture with an increase in the number of LGUs with Local Cultural Inventory from 32 in 2020 to 35 in 2021. Out of the 79 LGUs in the region, 66 municipalities and cities have established their Local Council for Culture and Arts (LCCAs).
Further, the Cordillera Regional Development Council through the SPCAR program spearheads the region’s continuing pursuit of regional autonomy. Due to the unprecedented effect of the global pandemic and government-imposed restrictions on face-to-face gatherings, the SPCAR program shifted its strategy and engaged in online platforms in advancing the advocacy for self-determination. The National Economic and Development Authority Central office recognized the One Cordillera Facebook page of the SPCAR program as the second highest performing social media page for the first and second quarter of 2021.
By the end of 2021, the One Cordillera page reached an average of 282,156 individual profiles monthly. This is supplemented by the 2,452 individuals reached through a total of 33 virtual and limited face-to-face fora conducted in 2021. A total of 1,730 responded to mock plebiscites from these activities and among these, 1,464 (85 %) voted yes for regional autonomy, 98 (6 %) voted no, and 157 (9 %) remain undecided.
The SPCAR program also engaged in print, radio and television advertisements to further enhance the reach of information about regional autonomy to raise awareness and support among the Cordillerans across the region. A total of 168 resolutions supporting the proposed autonomous region of the Cordillera were gathered from different LGUs, line agencies and civil society organizations in CAR showing the overwhelming clamor for regional autonomy. Noteworthy is the approval of the substitute bill on Cordillera autonomy consolidating the provisions of House Bill No. 5687 and House Bill No. 7778, by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Local Government, Committee on Ways and Means, and Committee of Appropriations
To view the complete 2021 Cordillera Regional Development Report, visit the NEDA-CAR website at https://car.neda.gov.ph or access the report at https://drive.google.com/file/d/16wS3QcMCROTVtkcN4tXWuG_I6uMPmzn8/view.