Baguio economy flourishing

BAGUIO CITY — The planning and development office of Baguio says the city is on the right track and is economically growing, as shown by indicators of progress in 2017 compared with 2016.

Evelyn Cayat, City Planning and Development Officer, reported on Friday that the city’s total exports grew by 75.2 percent to USD2.9 billion in 2017 from 2016, based on the latest data from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

The figure, Cayat noted, is the combined export receipts of the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ), the 247-hectare John Hay Tourism Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ), and the SM Baguio Cyberzone.

Cayat said the largest contributor to the economic zone exports were 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, 6.2 percent.

The BCEZ is host to Texas Instruments, a manufacturer of microchips for gadgets, and the MOOG Controls, which manufactures bolts and parts for airplanes. It also houses garment companies with operations in the city.

With the growing demand for products manufactured by BCEZ-based companies, employment there rose by six percent from 13,802 workers in 2016 to 14,622 in 2017.

Trade and industry in Baguio have also shown progress, as the number of business establishments in the city increased by 2.58 percent to 19,590.

Cayat said 47.3 percent of these are engaged in retail trade; 22.9 percent in real estate, boarding houses, apartments, and transient houses; 13.4 percent in services; six percent are in food business like restaurants, cafes, cafeteria, ice cream shops, refreshments, eatery, canteen, fast food, and coffee shops; while 10.4 percent are into wholesale business, aggregates, amusement, and others.

Cayat said Baguio’s total registered workforce from various industries and businesses operating in the city is pegged at 58,743.

She noted that what used to be the city’s tag as the Summer Capital of the Philippines is evolving and it is now one of the country’s weekend destinations. She said tourism in the city flourished considerably, as tourist arrivals again surpassed the one-million mark in 2017. She said 1.5 million tourists visited Baguio in 2017, registering a 17.5-percent increase from the 1.29 million tourist arrivals in 2016.

Noting that the number of banks it hosts determines a place’s economic health, Cayat cited data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas saying that four more banks have been added to the 82 banks operating in Baguio in 2016.

“This means that our banking system remains sound and stable,” she said.

Cayat further explained that peace and order is a component of a robust economy.

“We congratulate the Baguio City Police Office for providing a peaceful environment in the city, placing Baguio in the top 10 safest cities in Southeast Asia,” she said.

Numbeo, a global online database of living conditions in cities around the world, ranked Baguio City as the sixth on its list of Safest Cities in Southeast Asia in 2018, with a safety index of 58.38.

Baguio’s chief cop, Senior Supt. Ramil Saculles, said the city’s economy is doing good because its peace and order situation is stable.

“We are optimistic that the economic performance of Baguio will continue to expand with both challenges and opportunities brought about by technological innovations, ASEAN integration, and changes in the world market,” Cayat added.

She said the city government is again gathering data on the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index. The index gauges a place’s overall competitiveness score, based on economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure. Pamela Mariz Geminiano/PNA-northboundasia.com