Tourism, manufacturing seen boosting Ilocos Region economy

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Ilocos Region is on its way to attaining the target gross regional domestic product (GRDP) rate of 7 percent per annum on the back of its active tourism industry and likely pick-up in manufacturing sector, said a local official of economic development and planning agency.

“The (growth) trend is rising if there will be no weather disturbances and other factors that might affect it,” Director Nelson Rillon of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office 1 told Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday,

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Rillon said the region’s GRDP has an average growth rate of 5.77 percent from 2011 to 2016.

He noted it is possible to meet the target GRDP with the active tourism industry in the region.

Rillon said a total 995,710 tourists visited the region in the 2017 based from the record of the Department of Tourism.

Pangasinan has the highest share of tourist arrivals with 53.15 percent of the total number, followed by La Union with 37.61 percent and Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte with 5.25 percent and 3.99 percent, respectively.

“Hopefully, we would perk-up in manufacturing sector as we have high potential in this industry but it has very small component in our overall economy,” he said.

Rillon further said the employment rate in the region in 2017 is also high at 91.1 percent, while unemployment rate is low at 8.9 percent.

Nonetheless, underemployment rate increased from 17.5 percent in 2016 to 19.9 percent in 2017.

“Underemployment means those who already have a job still got another job,” Rillon said.

He said inflation rate in the region, which is 2.5 percent, is lower compared to the country’s 2.7 percent inflation rate.

“Meaning the increase in prices of commodities in the region is slower compared to the country’s,” Rillon added.

Meanwhile, the poverty incidence among families in the region is at 9.6 in 2015, wherein among the provinces Pangasinan has 11.2.

He clarified the figure though, saying that Pangasinan is the fourth populous province in the country.

“With all the efforts of the provincial government, Pangasinan is not far behind. Unfortunately, it has big population, so much more effort is needed and Pangasinan in this area is more than outstanding as proven by awards it got over the years for implementing poverty alleviating projects sliding poverty incidence,” Rillon added.

La Union has 9.2 percent poverty incidence rate among families; Ilocos Sur with 9.5 percent and Ilocos Norte with 3.3 percent.

“Overall poverty incidence in the region is declining, especially that Ilocos Norte, one of the better performing provinces in decreasing poverty incidence in the country, is in Region 1. Also, what is important is what drives the provinces take to address the plight of the poor,” he said. Hilda Austria/

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