BAGUIO CITY – The cordillera office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) forecasts that the region targets to build on the gains of 2021 and sustain economic growth this year to help in bringing back the vibrance of the economy.
NEDA-CAR assistant regional director Stephanie Christiansen stated that for the gross regional domestic product (GRDP), CAR re-adjusted its target from P373.77 billion to P391.90 billion for this year, or 6.5 to 7.5 percent growth rate.
She pointed out that to achieve the same, the agriculture, fishery and forestry sector needs to be radically developed to reverse the negative growth rate in recent years and reach at least 4 percent growth rate by the end of the year.
By this way, the NEDA-CAR official asserted that food inflation could also be managed at a level where lower income groups could still be able to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
On the other hand, Christiansen disclosed that the regional employment level is targeted to further improve this year where the cordillera’s already higher than national average employment rate was initially estimated at 94.9 percent as of October 2021 and is projected to increase at 96 percent this year.
Further, she stipulated that the labor force participation at 64.2 percent in October 2021 is targeted to further improve to 65 percent this year.
Meanwhile, Christiansen explained that the unemployment rate is targeted to decrease from 5.1 percent in 2021 to 4 percent this year.
Moreover, underemployment is also projected to significantly decrease from 17.4 percent to only 13 percent by the end of the year.
The NEDA-CAR assistant regional director asserted that the region will be able to achieve the aforesaid targets with President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr’s 8-point socio-economic agenda as the agency prepares the successor medium-term development plan for 2023-2028.
According to her, to sustain economic growth and recovery, there is a need to strengthen and accelerate the region’s strategies for poverty reduction such as increasing employment opportunities, delivering quality education, providing access to health services among others.
She admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone to test, it has challenged the health systems and economic resilience, but it has also taught people to do and see things differently as they transition to the new and better normal.
However, she urged people not to be complacent with the good outturn because while there are decreasing poverty measures, there is still a need for everyone to stride in low leaps.
She asserted that as public servants and private individuals, people can do more not only in economic terms but for them to pitch in any way to uplift their families and communities noting that poverty is multifaceted and multidimensional in nature.
Christiansen encouraged everyone to address the unmet needs of poor families and communities in the region through a whole of the nation and whole systems approach.
Poverty incidence in the region dropped to around 6.9 percent in 2021 from the previous 8.6 percent in 2018 where there are some 30,740 families that are considered to be poor compared to the 36,350 poor families recorded over 3 years ago.