Region 1 slightly affected by global crisis
by Freddie G. Lazaro
San Fernando City, La Union (February 27) -- The Region 1 Development Council (RDC) chaired by Ilocos Sur Gov. Deogracias Victor "DV" B. Savellano reported over the weekend the council's significant accomplishments in the effort to ease the impact of the global economic crisis on the people in the region.
It was learned, however, that the residents of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union and Pangasinan are slightly affected by the global crisis.
During the regional development conference held recently in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) building here, Savellano said: "2008 was not a bad year for Region 1 despite the global economic slowdown."
Savellano noted an increase in the employment rate in Region 1 for the period from April to October in 2008 and a remarkable decrease of unemployment by 7.90 percent during the same period.
"In support of President Arroyo's program for the creation of one million jobs annually, RDC 1, through its jobs, opportunities, security and productivity committee, generated 173,674 new jobs in 2008. These were generated in the economic sector in which the RDC's target for the year was surpassed by 13.38 percent," Savellano said.
The Ilocos Sur governor noted the continuing confidence of the private sector in Region 1, saying this resulted in increase in investments by 154.33 percent last year.
"Our domestic and foreign tourist arrivals also grew by 41 percent, in which our region's unique and natural environments and exotic experiences such as water sports, bird watching, reasonably priced accommodations and medical wellness made our region attractive to tourists," he said.
He reported that the region's customs collection exceeded its target by 73 percent due to the higher oil price and increased imports of rice during the first half of 2008.
The region's crime-solution efficiency also improved to 89.90 percent in 2008 from 88.85 percent in 2007.
The governor also reported the successful reduction of poverty incidence in the region with the implementation of the localized strategies for the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) to bridge the gaps in the critical areas.
However, with the drop in growth rates on the national level, the region's total exports receipts in 2008 slid by 33.00 percent.
It was only in the second quarter that export receipts increased by 26.77 percent. The contraction happened because of weak demand from the region's major trading partners such as the US, Japan, China, and other traditional markets of the country's products.
"Although there were glitches, 2008 was not really a bad year for Region 1 despite the global slowdown. The global phenomenon, however, is being predicted to take a toll in our economy in 2009. For this, we have to brace ourselves because the worst is yet to come," Savellano said.
Meanwhile, Leonardo N. Quitos Jr., Director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), who is also vice chairman of the RDC, reported that the detailed action plan for contingency measures has been finished and had been submitted to Malacanang.
This was the contribution of Region 1 to the stimulus package of President Arroyo. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]