National Economic and Development Authority Regional Office 3
Date: 27 April 2018
Central Luzon’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) expanded 9.3 percent in 2017, PSA Regional Director Edgardo Pare reported in the press conference held Thursday, 26 April 2018 at the Social Action Center in Pampanga, City of San Fernando. The 2017 growth is slower as compared with the 9.5 percent rate in 2016 but is the third highest among the regional economy in the country. Central Luzon contributed 0.9 percentage point to the country’s 6.7 percent growth in 2017. All three economic sectors namely Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AFF), Industry and Services and all sub-industries except Mining and Quarrying posted positive growths. NEDA 3 keenly awaited the 2017 GRDP estimates because historically, GRDP growth in the region tended to be much lower a year after a high growth is recorded. NEDA 3 is pleased that Central Luzon’s economy sustained its high growth albeit lower by 0.2 percentage points than the previous year’s 9.5 percent. Further, the 2017 growth remains higher than the national growth rate of 6.7 percent. The region is even steadily increasing its share of the country’s GDP from 9.7 percent of the country’s GDP, up from 9.5 percent in 2016 and from 9.3 percent in 2015. Central Luzon is thus realizing its role of becoming the primary contributor to the country’s economy. The year 2017 was the first year of implementation of the Central Luzon Regional Development Plan, 2017 – 2022 prepared by NEDA 3 and approved by the Regional Development Council (RDC) III. The 2017 GRDP growth rate of 9.3 percent is much higher than the region’s plan upper range target of 6.9 percent set for the year. The plan also included targets for poverty reduction and employment rates to indicate if the economic growth is actually benefiting the vulnerable segments of the population especially the poor. In terms of employment, the PSA estimated that the region’s employment rate in 2017 was 93.4 percent, which is a slightly lower than the target 93.7 percent set for the year. More jobs however are expected to be created for the rest of the plan period, 2018 -2022, with the implementation of major infrastructure projects planned for the region. Among these is the 9,450 hectare development of New Clark City. This planned unit development (PUD) or new township will include the development of a 200 hectare Administrative Center where government offices will be transferred. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) Central office has already relocated in Clark. Secretary Mark A. Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recently stated that the agency will soon follow the lead of DOTr, and more agencies are expected to tag along. The construction of the 20,000 –seater athletics stadium and 2,000 seater aquatics center already started in the New Clark City. These will serve as venues for the athletics and water sports during the 30th South East Asian games which will be hosted by the Philippines in 2019. In addition to Clark, Subic and Bulacan are also going to be venues for the SEA games. Under the Build, Build, Build program of the government, the implementation of Clark Airport terminal and the Manila-Clark railway project will not only sustain the construction boom the region has been experiencing, but will also provide additional jobs to its residents. The establishment of the Cavite-Corregidor-Bataan Interlink Bridge (a.k.a. Manila Bay bridge) – the feasibility study of which is currently being undertaken by DPWH through a project preparatory assistance study from an Official Development Assistance Agency (ODA), will further strengthen the connectivity and economic agglomeration between Central Luzon, Metro Manila, and Calabarzon. Flood management and vulnerability reduction programs will be vigorously pursued to protect existing assets from the destructive forces of nature, and to strengthen the overall resiliency of the region. Meanwhile, an updated estimate of the Central Luzon’s poverty incidence of 11.2 percent will not be available until 2019. However, the very good economic performance of the region in 2016 and 2017 and the jobs generated by the various infrastructure projects, suggest that poverty rate had likely lowered to the CL-RDP target 10.6 percent in 2017.