Palawan’s economy remained in decline in 2021 and recorded the lowest economic growth among provinces in the region, a performance report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
According to Palawan’s Provincial Product Account (PPA), the province recorded a -1.4 percent decline in the gross provincial domestic product (GPDP) in 2021. It is a bit lower than the decrease in 2020, which was a -5.6 percent growth performance.
It represents a decrease in the value of the GPDP from P127.3 billion in 2020 to P125.5 billion in 2021. PSA records show that Palawan’s economy needs to grow by 7.4 percent in 2022 to match its pre-pandemic record of P134.8 billion GPDP.
Officer-in-charge Sharlene Vilches of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) explained that some factors could be the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather conditions brought by climate change, typhoon Odette, and the effect of the 25-year moratorium on the mining and quarrying sub-sector.
“May epekto ang pandemic dahil sa services, transportation, and accommodation naapektuhan. But then, ang nag-pull down ng growth of the industry sector is mining and quarrying. It can be attributed to the prices of minerals commodities in the world market, it can be also to the production na nakukuha natin sa mining companies within the province,” she said.
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing (AFF) at 25.3 percent with a P31.8 billion value, industry at 46.4 percent with a P58.2 billion value, and services at 28.3 percent with a P35.6 billion value are the major industries in Palawan.
The share of services is the only industry out of the three that has positive growth from 2020 to 2021.
The industries that showed the largest decline in the growth rate of Palawan are mining and quarrying at -10.9 percent; transportation and storage at -8.0 percent; accommodation and food services activities at -4.1 percent; and AFF at -1.9 percent. These are the contributors to the -1.4 percent decline in the GPDP of Palawan in 2021, PSA added.
Palawan is the only economy in MIMAROPA that recorded a decline in 2021 in terms of growth rate, the PSA reported. Occidental Mindoro has the highest growth rate of 9.4 percent GPDP, followed by Oriental Mindoro with 6.6 percent, Marinduque with 6.0 percent, Romblon with 3.4 percent, and Puerto Princesa City with 2.5 percent.
The per capita GPDP of Palawan is P132,528 in 2021, which is -2.9 percent lower than the P136,486 recorded in 2020. It is the estimated average contribution of each individual to the total GPDP.
Economic growth of Puerto Princesa
Unlike Palawan’s economy, the city of Puerto Princesa recorded a positive growth of 2.5 percent in 2021 compared to a decline of -10.5 percent in 2020. The services industries have the highest contribution to the economic growth of the city with 74.1 percent, followed by industry with 22.1 percent, and AFF with 3.8 percent.
The top industries with the highest share of services are wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles with a 20.1 percent contribution, information and communication with 15.8 percent, and financial and insurance activities with 14.4 percent.
The decline in growth by industry was observed in accommodation and food service activities, manufacturing, and transportation and storage.
As the city started to host international and national events, including the three-year contract for Ironman 70.3, the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) expressed confidence in a possible recovery in the accommodation and food service activities in the 2022 GCDP.
“I believe na tataas ang ating projection for the next years. Ito ay 2021 and very late na tayo nag-open ng tourism, Puerto Princesa, ang tagal na nag-close talaga tayo and it was March when we officially opened our tourism industry ng Puerto Princesa and yet nakita na natin agad ang increase,” City Planning and Development Coordinator Engr. Jovenee Sagun said.
“I think sa accommodation pa rin, even during the pandemic, ginamit kasi natin ‘yong hotels as quarantine facilities. Iyong mga pumayag na gawin silang quarantine faclities ay open taaga sila. May hotels lang kami kinausap na nong una ay ‘di sila pumayag, but there are accommodation and pension houses allowed na magamit ng city as facilities,” she said.
Sagun also said that the city is now seeing a rise in the number of tourists. It is still not as high as it was before the pandemic, but it is slowly growing.
In 2021, Puerto Princesa has the highest gross city domestic product (GCDP) per person of the five provinces and one HUC in the area. Its GCDP is P160,343.
It is PSA’s second PPA report, following MIMAROPA’s inclusion as one of the PPA computation’s pilot regions. Maria Lalaine Rodriguez, the chief statistical specialist for PSA Palawan, said that it is a way to put together the GPDP and the GCDP.
It also serves as an appropriate indicator of economic performance in the provincial and highly urbanized city. It will also give policymakers a way to plan and make better decisions. It will also give them a way to track economic growth at the local level.