Pandemic causes Western Visayas economy to plunge
By TARA YAP
ILOILO CITY — With the restrictions of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the economy of Western Visayas region has plunged for fiscal year 2020. The Gross Domestic Regional Product (GRDP) of Western Visayas region dropped to P825.4 billion for fiscal year 2020. In comparison, the GRDP in 2019 registered at P915.3 billion. Specifically, the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) recorded -9.7 percent growth rate for 2020 in the region comprising of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces as well as the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod. PSA-6 Regional Director Fred Sollesta said this was far from the 6.3 percent growth rate during fiscal year 2019. Almost all sectors in Western Visayas had a negative growth. The region’s service sector had an -8.8 percent growth while the industry sector dropped to -1.9 percent. PSA-6 found that only the region’s agriculture sector posted growth, which was at 1.1 percent. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) attributed to the slump of the regional economy last year to the restrictions caused by the different levels of lockdowns. “This was a full-blown socio-economic crisis. It disrupted the region’s growth trajectory,” said Meylene Rosales, NEDA-6 officerin-charge. Rosales said the negative growth rate was the region’s lowest since 2016.