The reported 5.4 percent economic growth of Central Visayas in 2021 could have roughly reached 7 percent if not for Typhoon Odette.

This was one of the highlights of the NEDA 7 statement given by NEDA 7 ARD Dolores Molintas during the news conference on the 2021 Economic Performance of Central Visayas organized by the Philippine Statistics Authority Region 7 last April 28 at bai Hotel Cebu in Mandaue City.

ARD Molintas said that last year, NEDA 7 projected a much better performance of the regional economy for 2021 because of significant recovery efforts, the rollout of the vaccination program, and the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Unfortunately, Typhoon Odette struck most parts of Central Visayas in December. The typhoon caused PhP 87 billion worth of physical asset damages, resulting in opportunity losses of around PhP 79 billion. Despite this, the region’s economy valued at PhP 1.2 trillion remained the fourth largest in the country.

All three major sectors of the regional economy recorded expansions in 2021, with the service sector registering the highest growth at 5.9 percent; followed by the growth of the agriculture, forestry and fishery sector (AFF) at 5.6 percent; and industry sector growth at 3.8 percent.

The services sector advanced by 5.9 percent, the highest among the three major sectors which is a relief since the sector dominates the region’s economy.

While accommodation and food services, a tourism-allied industry, is still reeling from the pandemic and the effects of Typhoon Odette, wholesale and retail trade, as well as transportation industries performance improved in 2021 by as much as 6.1 and 5.9 percent, respectively.

Information and communication and professional and business service industries experienced the highest growth in 2021 aside from education, health and social work services. These are the industries that include IT/BPM companies which continued to expand and sustain productive capacity even surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

For agriculture, palay production in 2021 recorded double-digit growth in all quarters of 2021 which can be attributed to good weather conditions for most of the year and the absence of pest outbreaks. Livestock production was up by 8.2 percent in 2021 while fishery yields declined by 6.5 percent.

On the industry sector, its growth of 3.8 percent was driven by the 8 percent growth in the region’s construction industry. A rebound of the construction industry was anticipated as government stepped up implementation of its infrastructure projects to help rebuild the economy. The gross fixed capital formation for construction, including public spending, grew by 13.8 percent in 2021.

The manufacturing industry, which includes export-oriented manufacturing firms, expanded by 4.0 percent. This growth is consistent with the 2.1 percent growth in the international export of goods.

ARD Molintas concluded the NEDA 7 statement that with the implementation of the ten-point policy agenda to accelerate and sustained economic recovery from COVID-19 as contained in Executive Order No. 166, as well as the implementation of the Rehabilitation and Recovery Program for Typhoon Odette for 2022-2024, Central Visayas is well on its way to full economic recovery.