Calabarzon was the fastest-growing region in 2021 — PSA

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
Calabarzon was the fastest-growing region in 2021 � PSA
Filipinos queue for RT-PCR swab tests at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 as the Philippines records a sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — All regions in the Philippines returned to growth mode in 2021 after the government rolled back several pandemic restrictions, with Calabarzon emerging as last year’s outperformer, state statisticians reported Thursday.

Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed all regions posted stellar growth last year. But the superlative regional figures in 2021 were more of a reminder of the historic meltdown in 2020 when the pandemic paralyzed business and commerce in the economy.

Calabarzon (Region IV-A) — comprised of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon — was the fastest-growing region last year after expanding at an annual rate of 7.6%.

Calabarzon, which is home to several manufacturing hubs, even exceeded the national gross domestic product growth of 5.7%. It also grew faster than the National Capital Region, which expanded 4.4% year-on-year.

Behind Calabarzon was the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) which both grew at an annualized rate of 7.5%. Central Luzon eked out a 7.4% growth while the Ilocos Region grew 7.2% on-year.

“Definitely the low base effects from 2020 contributed to the better growth figure," Michael Enriquez, chief investment officer at Sun Life Investment Management and Trust Corp., said. What this means is that the 2021 GDP readings inevitably came out strong because they were compared to 2020 figures, which were depressed by hard lockdowns.

But few sectors of the economy found solid footing despite the pandemic. PSA data revealed that in the services sector — which include wholesale trade, tourism, transport, and finance — output from Metro Manila had the biggest contribution to the sector’s growth with 42.4% share.

Industries, meanwhile, got most of its support from Calabarzon, which accounted for 25.1% of the sector’s growth last year.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing likewise grew, with Central Luzon, considered the national rice granary, pitching in a 13.5% share in the growth picture.

Moving forward, Enriquez believes that first-quarter earnings of companies will support the regional economic growth figures. Household spending, which took a backseat at the onset of the public health crisis, grew across all regions, with Caraga posting the highest growth rate at 10.6% in 2021.

“As the alert level in NCR and neighboring province were reduced, there has been a corresponding surge in spending," Enriquez said. — Infographic by Jazmin Tabuena

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