SOCCKSARGEN Region’s economy hikes up by 5.0 percent in 2016 as measured by the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP). This was the highlight in the recently concluded news conference conducted by the PSA Regional Statistical Services Office (RSSO) XII at the East Asia Royale Hotel in General Santos City last May 4, 2017. The news conference was simultaneously conducted in the 17 regions across the country.

The members of the panel were PSA XII Regional Director, Atty. Maqtahar L. Manulon and NEDA XII Regional Director Arturo G. Valero. Assisting them were DTI XII Regional Director Ibrahim K. Guiamadel and Ms. Reinelda P. Adriano, Chief of the Fisheries Statistics Division of the PSA Central Office.

RD Manulon presented the highlights of the region’s economic performance in 2016. He made a detailed presentation on how each industry and sub-industry contributed to the region’s economic outputs in 2016. Across the 17 regions, he announced that SOCCSKSARGEN ranked 10th in terms of growth rate and 9th in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) contribution to the national GDP.

RD Valero discussed the implications of the 2016 GRDP estimates to the region’s development initiatives. He was happy to note that despite the slump in the performance in Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) which was greatly affected by the El Niño, the other sectors, particularly Industry and Services, performed well and pulled the region’s economy up to register a 5.0 percent growth in 2016, faster than the 3.3 percent growth recorded in 2015. He called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the business sector to put-up more manufacturing and processing plants in the region to give more value-added to the products produced in the region rather than exporting them in raw form. He also stressed the importance of developing the region’s thriving MSMEs especially in the light of the recently launched RORO service between Indonesia and the Philippines which would cover the route from Bitung, Indonesia, Davao City to General Santos City. He urged the business sector to upgrade and produce world class products to be competitive with other imported goods. He remains positive that with a more stable and favorable weather this year, the region will outpace its 2016 economic performance.

An open forum ensued after the presentations. Ms. Catherine T. Apelacio of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), served as the moderator. RD Guiamadel provided substantial inputs on the prospects and direction of the region’s trade and industry especially in the light of the ASEAN integration.

The news conference was attended by media practitioners from 13 radio stations, 6 newspaper, and 3 television stations. Also present were representatives from other government agencies like DA, BFAR, DPWH, DSWD, DENR, PFDA, MinDA and MGB including those from the private sector like SFAII and the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who served as resource persons.

The GRDP news conference is held annually by the PSA to elicit the support of the media in disseminating statistics and other information to the general public. This year’s news conference, however, was held three months earlier in response to the clamour of the planning agencies for the earlier release of the GRDP. (Source: http://psa12.ph/index.php/en/84-publications/press-releases/413-press-release-soccsksargen-economy-expands-by-5-0-percent-psa-xii-holds-news-conference)