The Western Visayas economy, as measured by the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), recorded a 6.1 percent growth rate in 2016 as presented during the 2016 GRDP Press Conference by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) at the Grand Xing Imperial Hotel, Iloilo City on May 4, 2017.

The growth rate recorded for 2016 is slower than the 8.8 percent recorded in 2015.  Despite this, the region ranked 6th in terms of region’s to the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016.

During the press conference where Philippine Statistics Authority Regional Director Fred S. Sollesta presented the GRDP 2015-2016 report, NEDA-VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal, noted that “despite the slower growth, the region’s GRDP increased continued to increase to Php324 billion in 2016 compared to Php305 billion pesos in 2015”. She also pointed out the strong fundamental indicators which depict a healthy regional economy, including the decreasing trend in the inflation rate for all commodity items from 2.3 percent in 2015 to only 1.9 percent in 2016; the slight increase of employment rate from 94.6 percent in 2015 to 95.1 percent in 2016; the slight decrease in underemployment rate from 21.3 percent to 19.1 percent; and the 12 percent increase in exports and also the 12 percent increase in the number of tourists.

She further added that despite the uncertainties brought about by major political changes and pronouncements in the United States, BPO Industry remains as one of the major job generators of the region with a total of 47 BPO office established in 2016 with 21,500 employees and increased monthly investments from US $31.5 million in 2015 to US $43 million in 2016 and a 2.38 percent increase in monthly industry revenues from US $22.4 million in 2015 to US $22.6 million in 2016.

Director Bacal ended her discussion with a positive outlook for 2017 with the Western Visayas’ economy remaining upbeat and buoyant on prospects for continued growth.

The simultaneous 2016 GRDP Press Conference was organized by the PSA led by RD Sollesta and was attended by Deputy National Statistician Josie B. Perez, Assistant National Statistician Candido J. Astrologo, Jr., regional directors and representatives from various regional line agencies, local government units, private sector representatives and members of the media.