The economy of Western Visayas grew by  4.9 percent in 2014, higher than the 3.4 percent growth rate registered in 2013.  The growth of the regional economy is measured by the Gross Regional Development Product or GRDP.

The Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA), which generated the said statistics, reported that in 2014 the services sector sustained its largest share in the region’s economy at 57.6 percent.  Agriculture, Hunting, Fishery, and Forestry (AHFF) and Industry sectors contributed 21.9 percent and 20.5 percent shares, respectively.

Western Visayas was included in the 8 regions among the 17 regions in the country with accelerated growths in 2014.  While Region VI ranked number 13 among the 17 regions in terms of GRDP growth rate, it ranked number 6 in terms of regional contribution to the country’s GDP.

The results were presented by the PSA Interim Regional Director Norman R. Julag-ay during a news conference held on July 30  in Iloilo City. The news conference was attended by 41 participants from the print and broadcast media, representatives from the regional line agencies and PSA staff.

Representing NEDA Regional Office (NRO) VI, Ms. Teresa G. Guadalupe, Chief of the Development Research Division, explained that after a decline in GRDP growth rates in 2012 and 2013, the economy in 2014 rebounded due to  improved performance of all sectors.  Various  efforts of both government and private sectors, including the rehabilitation for Yolanda affected areas also contributed to the region’s improved performance.

Ms. Guadalupe added that as projected in the Regional Development Plan (RDP), 2011-2016, the GRDP growth rate of 5.9 percent should have been sustained.  However, this was not achieved in 2013 and 2014. Given a more stable environment, it is expected that the GRDP will increase and surpass the 5.9 per cent target next year.

For 2015, economic activities of the private sector  are expected to remain vibrant and will be one of the major drivers of growth in the region as shown  by the ongoing construction particularly in Iloilo City and other urban areas. However, the strong performance of the services sector will continue to be the top contributor to the region’s economic growth.

The BPO industry is steadily maintaining its niche as an employment generator for the region. The region is slowly becoming attractive with  the  construction of condominiums due to the rapid urbanization and the accompanying rise of the residential sector. This, however, will further decrease areas for agriculture. While employment will continue to show positive and encouraging figures (93 percent in 2013 to 94 percent in 2014), underemployment (21.8 percent in 2014), however, will remain constant/steady or may increase slightly because a good number of these new jobs are on a part time basis.