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Eastern Visayas shows post -‘Yolanda’ economic gains

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Economic development was recorded in Eastern Visayas, five years after super typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) struck the region, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) official said Wednesday.

Citing official data, NEDA Regional Director Bonifacio Uy said the region has been consistently recording positive economic growth since 2015 after the devastation of the monster typhoon.

“The recovery is very visible with the construction of malls, hotels, stores, and commercials buildings in the past five years. Our challenge is to sustain the growth and ensure that economic gains will be based on the target in our regional development plan target of 5.5 percent,” Uy said.

Eastern Visayas’ economy managed to grow by 1.8 percent in 2017, but the growth is significantly slower than a year ago due to scaling down of post-“Yolanda” construction activities.

The Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) performance nosedived by 10.2 percent from a growth of 12.4 percent in 2016.

“As a result of the massive post-‘Yolanda’ reconstruction activities, the recorded an all-time high economic growth rate in 2016. This was the fastest growth among regions and the only double-digit growth nationwide,” Uy said.

“It was during that year that reconstruction activities in the region were at its peak due to intensified implementation of public construction projects,” he added.

The post-“Yolanda” positive regional economic growth started in 2015 when the region’s GRDP posted an increase of 4.6 percent.

Poverty incidence significantly dropped to 38.7 percent in 2015 from 45.2 percent in 2012 after the killer typhoon. The region was a notch better in its nationwide poverty ranking, according to the NEDA official.

“From being the second poorest region in 2012, it became the third poorest in 2015. However, the challenge to continuously reduce the number of poor populations in the region remains,” Uy added.

“We remain steadfast that our concerted efforts coupled with the right policies, we will be able to usher the region to its full recovery and ultimately lead to the twin regional goals of robust economic growth and reduced poverty and inequality in all dimensions.”

Super typhoon Yolanda, said to be the strongest typhoon in world history, struck central Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013 and damaged 175 cities and municipalities in 14 provinces in six regions. The disaster killed more than 6,000 people.

Total cost of damage and losses in “Yolanda”-affected areas reached PHP101.79 billion, of which PHP48. 79 billion was in Eastern Visayas. (PNA)