By Audrey Beverlee M. Gorio

For 2012, despite the national economy exceeding its target with a 6.6 percent growth, the region is projected to record a lower but positive economic growth.

This is according to the 2012 Regional Economic Situationer (RES), a performance report of the regional economy based on leading economic indicators which NEDA recently released.

Among the reasons for the projected lower growth were the performances of the manufacturing and the mining and quarrying sub-sectors of the economy.

Manufacturing in the region is largely the export industries of the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) in Loacan, Baguio City. Its output comprises the bulk of the region’s industry sector which on the average comprises more than 50 percent of the gross regional economic output.

In 2012, the BCEZ had a $2.3 billion output compared to a $2.7 billion output in 2011 or a drop of about 18 percent.

The report also stated that the suspension of operations of the Padcal Copper Gold Project of Philex Mining following its tailings dam accident, along with suspension of the Enargite Project of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company contributed to the overall drop in metallic mineral production.

In agriculture, the report showed that there was a modest growth in the production of most of the major agricultural crops in the region. This was despite severe weather disturbance in the third quarter including four major typhoons in August – Gener, Helen, Igme, and Julian which subsequently induced the seasonal monsoon rains. However, agriculture represents an average of only 10 percent of the region’s gross economic output.

The report also showed that tourism registered an increase in arrival in 2012 specially in Baguio, Kalinga, Abra and Mountain Province.  However, tourism receipts was still lower reaching P7.892 million in 2012 compared to P8.358 million in 2011. The report stated that tourism affected the drop of the regions industry by the strong competition from other popular destinations in the country.         

The region’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), according to the report, is considered a promising industry providing employment to young professionals.

The RES report is an output of an inter-agency task force comprised of BAS-CAR, BENECO, BIR-CAR, DOLE-CAR, DOT-CAR, DTI-CAR, MGB, DENR-CAR, NEDA-CAR, NSO-CAR, PEZA Baguio and SEC.