ARMM economic growth rebounds in 2016

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - (Bureau of Public Information. With a report from Rhoderick Beñez)

COTABATO CITY – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) economy rebounded in 2016 after a slower growth was recorded in the previous year. The region’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year posted positive 0.3% from negative 0.4% in 2015.

These figures were released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which conducted simultaneously media briefings nationwide to present the country’s and the regions’ 2016 economic performance. GRDP is a tool to monitor the economic performance of the region. It covers the value of goods and services the region produced over a specific period of time.

Abubakar Assad, PSAARMM regional director, explained that a GDP rebound means economic activity has improved, in this case from the previous year’s level as monitored by the government. Official data showed that the growth was driven by the services sector, which comprises 38.0% of the region’s economy.

The services sector, also referred to as tertiary sector, covers such businesses as transport, storage, and communication; trade and repair of motor vehicles, personal and household goods; financial intermediation; real estate, renting and similar business activities; public administration and defense; compulsory social sector; utilities; and other services. The industry sector – or secondary sector – grew 5.7% last year from 5.6% while agriculture, forestry and fishery – or primary sector – contracted to 56.3% from 58.2% in 2015.

“We are happy to announce that with the given data by the PSA, ARMM’S economy rebounded from the adjusted data of negative 0.4% to positive 0.3%, or from negative economic performance to positive economic performance,” Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, ARMM’S planning and development office chief, said.

It was explained that the main reason why the recovery has been slow is because agriculture sector’s contribution to the region’s economy went down, or 56.3% last year from 58.2% in 2015. ARMM remains an agriculture-based economy and output has been affected perennially by extreme weather conditions such as drought and flooding, along with displacements of farmers caused by armed conflicts and calamities.

Atty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM’S Executive Secretary, noted that new investment in telecommunications is expected this year, which will contribute further to the region’s output in the services sector and should generate new jobs. She said the regional line agencies, as well as the local government units, should help in the proper accounting of services, products and projects in the region to achieve an accurate monitoring of economic activities in line with the objective of reducing poverty incidence.

“Yes tumaas ang GRDP ng ARMM in 2016, but that doesn’t mean that we are already contented. It doesn’t mean na naachieve na natin ‘yungtarget natin, if we follow our regional development plan in the past five years, in the coming six years 2022, meron tayong mga targets – targets on reducing the poverty incidence level,” Atty. Alamia said.

She reiterated the impact of positive economic growth to poverty reduction. The ARMM government has implemented various anti-poverty programs in the region, namely Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy, or ARMM-HELPS; Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment, or BRIDGE; and Humanitarian and Development Assistance Program. With the bulk of projects in the region, Atty. Alamia reiterated that the region’s economy will continuously grow in the succeeding years.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman. (Mindanao Examiner Photo – Rhoderick Beñez)

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