The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) joined the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA-CAR) and other agencies in updating regional stakeholders on the 2020 Economic Performance of the Cordillera Administrative Region in a news conference held last April 29,2021 in Baguio City.
PSA- CAR Regional Director Villafe P. Alibuyog reported that the Cordillera economy contracted by 9.9% percent in 2020 from the 4.4 percent growth in 2019. This placed the region in the 4th rank for fastest contracting region. The region’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) was estimated at Php 289.9 billion which is less than the Php 321.7 billion in 2019. Alibuyog added that the Cordillera’s economy needs to grow by 11.0 percent in 2021 to break even and get back to where it was in 2019.
NEDA-CAR OIC Regional Director Stephanie Christiansen cited that two of the region’s biggest economic growth drivers suffered the most significant negative growth in gross output. The Accommodation and Food Services subsector recorded a 49 percent decline in gross output reducing its share to total GRDP to 3.4 percent from 6.4 percent in 2019. The downtrend in global demand and supply chain disruptions for electronics and aircraft parts manufactured at the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) resulted to a 16.3 percent contraction in manufacturing gross output.
Christiansen added that others sectors remained resilient despite the pandemic showing their potential as emerging industries or sectors which can further be tapped for the region’s recovery and transition into the new normal. These sectors include information and communication which grew by 4.1 percent and financial and insurance activities at 8.2 percent. The contribution of wholesale and retail trade to GRDP also increased to 18.4 percent from 17.8 percent even as gross output in the sub-sector contracted.
Christiansen stressed the need for the region to adapt to the new and better normal, giving economic growth and human health and well-being equal importance. “Let us not be disheartened with the earlier pronouncement that for our economy to go back to our 2019 growth level, we need to grow by an ambitious 11 percent to break even in 2021. What we perhaps need to do is to refocus on sectors or industries we need to support to recover in order to help the regional economy bounce back better. We have to be strategic in our recovery efforts in 2021 and beyond,” Christiansen added.
NEDA-CAR activated the five task groups of the Regional Recovery Cluster in partnership with the Office of Civil Defense, chair of the Regional Task Force against COVID-19, to prepare a regional Recovery Action Plan. The task groups for economic recovery, social recovery, governance, transport support and travel, and food resiliency are expected to map out their strategic actions to respond to their areas of concern.
NEDA-CAR along with other government agencies called on the public sector, the private sector, and civil society to cooperate and be involved in restarting socio-economic activities to contribute to national and regional economic growth.