Boracay’s impact to the region’s economy was raised during simultaneous nationwide news conference last April 26, 2018 where Philippine Statistics Authority Regional Director Fred S. Sollesta presented the 2017 Report on the Regional Economic Performance of Western Visayas.
RD Bacal, thereafter, presented the main contributors to the impressive growth of Western Visayas, highlighting Agriculture and Fishery’s recovery from negative 1.8 percent in 2016 to positive 8.8 percent in 2017. But the region’s growth was propelled mainly by the service sector, especially by the financial intermediation sub-sector which grew fom 4.9 percent to 14.4 percent; and from real estate and renting which grew from 3.7 percent to 7.2 percent in 2017.
Sharing the initial studies conducted by the NEDA central office with regards to the possible impact of the closure of Boracay, while at the national level the impact will be very minimal (0.10 percent to 0.11 percent), the immediate socio-economic effect will be felt stronger at the local level, particularly in Malay and the province of Aklan. This is because of the direct and indirect employment and business activities that will be affected in those areas. The cumulative effect of losses from employment and revenues will most likely be reflected in subsequent GRDP growth figures.
However, Western Visayas is a very dynamic economy. It is the 5th largest economy of the country. Hence, NEDA Region 6 is confident that notwithstanding the closure of Boracay, the region will continue to grow owing to the proactive delivery of critical infrastructure by the national government, the efforts of local government units to attract more investments along manufacturing, IT-BPM ventures, agri-business and in the development of natural attractions that will lure both domestic and international visitors.
The continued expansion of property developers catering to commercial, residential, and office use will spread the development outside the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod, which will remain as the major catalysts of development, and will allow for a more equitable distribution of development in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental and its cities.
The strength of the region’s current economy will definitely surpass the problems beset in Boracay and it is the economies of other provinces that will accommodate the displacement of workers during the temporary closure.
NEDA-VI calls on all development partners to be focused on their work and to validate information directly from the sources of information to avoid the embarrassment resulting from inaccurate stories and conjectures.