Commentary: Bright prospects after Milenyo
By Renee F. de Guzman
San Fernando City, La Union (3 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called on the nation to unite and asked citizens to do their share in efforts to repair widespread damage left by super typhoon Milenyo.
Typhoon Milenyo (Xangsane), which had the maximum winds of 130 kilometers per hour, was the worst typhoon that hit Luzon since Rosing (Angela) in l995 and Loleng (Babs) in l998.
Based on the National Disaster Coordinating Council Report, hundreds of thousands of families spread across seven (7) regions, 17 provinces, 14 cities and 1,377 barangays were affected. The extensive damage to public and private properties runs to billions of pesos, that most of the affected areas were declared under a State of Calamity including the City of Manila, the provinces of Cavite, Antique and the town of San Roque in Northern Samar.
The agriculture sector, most obviously was the worst hit. Six out of the seven regions affected by the typhoon are predominantly agricultural regions with an average share of agriculture to GPD of 23 percent, which is higher than the national average of 14.3 percent.
Also severely affected are the power and telecommunication sectors as typhoon Milenyo damaged power plants and transmission lines.
As the country struggles to address the trail of destruction, the government assures the public that it will spare no effort to get the people and communities back on their feet.
The disaster will definitely disrupt government's short-term economic program- since most often such event results in substantial realignment in spending plans, adjustments in economic targets and shifts in economic policy. Fortunately, the government is well prepared to address the recessionary effects of the Milenyo shock as it is well ahead of its fiscal stabilization targets.
Admittedly, the damage to agricultural crops and public infrastructure (bridges, roads farm-to-market roads, etc.) will make a dent on GPD growth in the last quarter but the government see these as a short blip rather than a serious long-term problem.
The people's welfare is the government's primary point of focus. But it has also set in motion the rehabilitation plans for the infrastructure affected by the storm to get the nation back to its feet.
With the country's economic momentum up, we can expect to see massive infrastructure spending program budgeted for next year to kick off earlier than expected. In which case, the expected 4th quarter slowdown could be alleviated , thanks to the stimulative effects of reconstruction spending.
Indeed, once the rebuilding process begins some industries will be benefited. Banks will also benefit from it as demands for loan will pick up and lending process will speed up to aid in the reconstruction.
Super typhoon Milenyo while it rendered billions of damages has also positive eventual impact. It has cleared Metro Manila's environs from pollution, it also forceably rationalize the construction of billboards, most importantly, it give significant opportunities for upgrades to infrastructure which will spawn growth and development.
Obviously, the clear winners are the construction and building material companies because of the construction-led boom that will happen. (PIA La Union) [top]