BAGUIO CITY – The City Planning and Development Office disclosed that the combined exports from the Loakan-based Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and those within the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ and SM Cyberzone totalled $2.9 billion last year which is 75.2 percent higher than the reported 2016 exports of $1.67 billion.
City Planning and Development Officer Engr. Evelyn G. Cayat said the largest contributor to the economic zone exports was radio, television and communications equipment which accounted for 64.8 percent followed by fabricated metal products, except machinery and electrical, which registered 28.6 percent and call centers with 6.2 percent.
Further, Cayat added average employment in PEZA industries also registered year-on-year increase since employment was recorded at 14,622 workers last year compared to the 13,802 workers in 2016 which was an increase of 6 percent.
On non-PEZA businesses, the planning officer claimed that trade and industry in the city continued to prosper with its 2.58 percent increase in the number of business establishments operating in the city from 19,083 in 2016 to 19,590 last year.
Of the total number of business establishments operating in the city, 47.3 percent are engaged in retailing; 22.9 percent are on real estate, boarding houses, apartments and transient houses; 13.4 percent are engaged on services and 6 percent are on restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, ice cream shops, refreshments, eatery, canteen, fastfood and coffee shops; and the remaining 10.4 percent are on wholesale business, aggregates, amusements and others.
According to her, the operating establishments were able to employ 58,743 workers last year that contributed in providing added employment opportunities for residents in the city’s 128 barangays.
On tourism, Cayat reported that tourism last year considerably surpassed those recorded in the previous year wherein there were 1,521,748 tourists who visited the city in 2017 compared to the 1,294,906 tourists who came to the city in 2016 which represented an increase of 17.5 percent.
Moreover, she said tourists stayed longer in the city last year where they stayed for an average of 2.77 nights compared to only 1.57 nights the previous year.
Cayat asserted Baguio remains to be an education center north of Manila because of the sustained peace and order which is also a major component of the robust economy, thus, she extended the city’s congratulations to the Baguio city Police Office (BCPO) for providing a peaceful environment in the city making the city as among the 10 safest cities in Southeast Asia by Number, a collaborative online database.
Cayat explained the city is not experiencing widespread power outages as compared to other places in the country, thus, it has greatly helped in the sustained improvement of the economic activity in the city which continues to pick up wherein consumption from commercial users increased by 3.7 percent year-on-year which totalled to 92,258 kilowatt-hours last year compared to the 88,959 kilowatthours the previous year.
Cayat cited that the city’s economy continues to be based on tourism and economy or the so-called tertiary economy through the years. By Dexter A. See