'Odette' damage to agriculture, tourism to be felt until 2022 — BSP

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
'Odette' damage to agriculture, tourism to be felt until 2022 â BSP
A floating restaurant lays on its side in Loboc town, Bohol province on December 21, 2021 after it was swept away at the height of super Typhoon Rai that devastated the province.

MANILA, Philippines — After Typhoon “Odette” left a trail of destruction in its wake, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas now expects agricultural production and tourism activities to face disruptions until next year.

"The damage caused may affect agriculture production and disrupt tourism-related activities until 2022," said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno in an online briefing on Thursday.

Odette was the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year, packing in wind speeds of 195 kilometers per hour, which left swathes of land in Visayas, Mindanao, and Luzon in complete disarray, killing 258 people as of the latest tally.

That said, Diokno’s grim outlook was not surprising at all because the typhoon-hit areas represented 36% of the country's gross domestic product as of 2020, per BSP’s estimates. That was bigger compared to the 2013 wrath of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), which ravaged areas that represented only 5% of GDP at the time.

The deadly storm’s onslaught came just when the local tourism sector was still finding its footing after the pandemic upended its workers and business model in the past 22 months. World-class surfing destination Siargao Island incurred P20-billion worth of losses when the typhoon made its first landfall in the region.

Diokno noted that the estimated economic damage of the typhoon reached P388 million as of December 21, based on preliminary reports. The central bank chief said Odette's toll on the country's agriculture sector amounted to P163 million, which may increase in the coming days as more reports come in.

Quoting data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the BSP reported the typhoon’s damage on public works and infrastructure already hit P225 million.

The grand scale of typhoon damage has compelled the national government to tap $80 million out of the $500 million standby credit line from the World Bank, which would be activated in the event that a state of calamity is declared. The government will access another $120 million from the same loan facility in the first week of January to fund relief efforts next year.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity in Mimaropa (Region 4-B), Central Visayas (Region 7), Northern Mindanao (Region 10), Western Visayas (Region 6) and Caraga (Region 13).




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