“CAR’s economy has slowly but steadily grown which has contributed to an increase in the number of people employed as well as to a reduction of poverty in the region,” RDC-CAR Chairman Mayor Mauricio Domogan said during his presentation of the State of the Region in CAR.
During his address, Mayor Domogan emphasized that while economic growth has been growing steadily in the region, it remains to be unbalanced as it is concentrated in industry sector and Baguio City area. In the meantime, agriculture sector continues to underperform with output contracting the past three years, he said.
Other highlights of the 2016 regional economy reported were the continued strength of exports from Baguio’s Philippine Economic Zone, increases in PEZA, DTI and SEC-registered investments , increased tourist arrivals, and improving competitiveness of the MSMEs.
On Governance, Mayor Domogan happily noted that more LGUs in CAR were given the Seal of Good Governance and peace and order has improved with the reduction in crimes. He also reported on the following positive sectoral developments: on infrastructure, mobility was enhanced with reduced travel time due to better roads; on social concerns, health situation of mothers, infants and under 5 children has improved with reduced deaths; on environment and natural resources, the region’s forest cover increased with continuing reforestation activities while 20 municipalities already with updated Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plans.
On continuing quest for regional autonomy, he reported that House Bill 5343 “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC)” was refiled in Congress last March 20, 2017. He re-affirmed the position of RDC-CAR given the move to shift to federal system of government, that is, “it is best for the region to become autonomous first before the country adopts a federal system of government.”
In the coming years, the RDC Chairman identified several challenges for the region. First is to ensure that growth is sustainable; second, that it protects the fragile environment; third, that it is consistent with the distinct and unique culture and heritage of the region, and fourth, is to ensure that growth will result to more employment, will reduce poverty and is equitable. Finally, he urged everyone to sustain the region’s advocacy on autonomy first before federalism.
(7 July 2017, DRD)