Bicol Region’s Economy Expanded the Fastest by 8.9 Percent in 2018


NEDA Bicol Dir. Agnes E. Tolentino presents statement on the Bicol Economy during the News Conference on the 2018 Economy of the Bicol Region on April 25, 2019

After two years of slower growth, Bicol’s economy, as measured by the gross regional domestic product (GRDP), grew the fastest among the 17 regions in the country in 2018. Bicol hit a solid 8.9 percent growth rate from 5.0 percent in 2017, and remains within the target set under the Regional Development Plan for 2017 to 2022. All the three major economic sectors: Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) Industry, and Services, recorded positive growth rates.

Industry sector recorded the fastest growth of 14.2 percent from 3.5 percent in 2017. The faster growth of the industry sector was attributed to construction, and mining and quarrying which grew by 21.7 percent and 18.8 percent, respectively. The robust growth in construction was supported by the Build Build Build Program of the government and the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Tourism where 37 projects were started in 2018 with PhP2.39 Billion investments. Mining and Quarrying was backed by the production of non-metallic minerals valued at PhP15 B, and metallic minerals valued at PhP14 B. Manufacturing moderately grew by 1.2 percentage points. Electricity, gas and water supply rebounded from a contraction of negative 3 to 1.9 percent in 2018.

The service sector grew from 6.4 percent in 2017 to 8.8 percent. This includes transportation and communication, trade, financial intermediation, real estate and business services, public administration, and other services including tourism services. Other services and public administration grew the fastest among these subsectors at 17.1 percent and 14.0 percent, respectively. Education was the major contributor of growth to Other services. The increase in personal services with the implementation of the 3rd tranche of the salary standardization law and the filling up of government positions contributed to the growth in public administration sector.

The AHFF expanded by 3.2 percent from 2.6 percent in 2017, with both agriculture and forestry, and fishing recording positive growth rates of 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

In terms of share to GRDP, the services sector contributed largely to the Bicol economy with a share of 57.5 percent, followed by the industry sector (23.9 percent) and AHFF (18.6 percent). The gross value added (at constant 2000 prices) of GRDP amounted to PhP 187.60 Billion from PhP 172.25 Billion in 2017.

With these developments, Bicol Region will move forward in 2019 with even stronger determination to accelerate growth to hit the target range of 9.1 to 9.6 percent. The government sector remains committed to making this growth inclusive in collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders. NEDA Bicol hopes that every Bicolano will be one in effort to translate this growth into a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat.



Towards Improving Connectivity Between the Bicol and Calabarzon Regions

On April 15 to 16, 2019, the Bicol and Calabarzon Regional Project Monitoring Committees (RPMC) conducted joint inspection of two projects that will improve the connectivity between the southernmost regions of Luzon: the Philippine National Railway (PNR) South Long Haul (SLH) Project and the Quezon-Bicol Expressway Project (QuBEx). The purpose of the activity was to inspect the existing facilities of the two projects, and orient the two RPMCs on the details and the proposed alignment of the projects.

The PNR presented the alignment and station options for the SLH project and the railroad crossings that will be covered. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) presented the QuBEx project, its alignment options, and the proposed implementation schedule including the status of the Toll Road 4 (TR4) Project (SLEX Extension Project), which will connect to the QuBEx.

The feasibility study of the PNR SLH project was approved in 2017 and the detailed engineering design is currently being prepared. Once finished, the project will provide railway transport from Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon. The PNR further ensures that the project will cut travel time to six hours from Manila to Legazpi City at a design speed of 160 km/hour.

On one hand, the QuBEx is a 220-kilometer expressway that will start at Pagbilao, Quezon and will end at the Asian Highway 26 in San Fernando, Camarines Sur. The expressway will provide a fast and developed alternative route, and will result to approximately two hour-savings in travel time. The end of QuBEx in San Fernando will connect to the ongoing Camarines Sur Expressway project.

The activity paved way to recommend some actions that should be considered prior to construction of the two projects. Among the recommendations to PNR for the SLH project are: (1) to coordinate with DPWH and Toll Regulatory Board to resolve conflict in the alignment of roads and railway tracks, and facilitate intermodal transport; and (2) to prepare an action plan for the abandoned PNR right-of-way that will not be utilized.

On QuBEx, the DPWH shall simultaneously seek endorsements from the Bicol and Calabarzon Regional Development Councils and Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) approval of the project. The preparation of ICC forms and requirements for this project is ongoing.


The Bicol and Calabarzon RPMC with representatives from DPWH during the ocular inspection of the proposed site of the Unisan Interchange of QuBEx Project in Unisan, Quezon.
(Source: NEDA Calabarzon Facebook)


Ms. Ester Barria of NEDA Region 5 during the coordination meeting/project briefing of the PNR South Long Haul and QuBex projects.


Ocular inspection of the proposed Calamba train station of the PNR South Long Haul Project.(Source: NEDA Calabarzon Facebook)


Ocular inspection of the proposed site of Tayabas Interchange of the QuBEx Project in Tayabas, Quezon. (Source: NEDA Calabarzon Facebook)



Bicolano Stakeholders Call for Harmonization of Planning Process at the Local Level

Members of the Regional Land Use Committee, provincial and city planning officers, academe and private sectors converged on April 12, 2019 at the RDC Hall, NEDA Region 5 to discuss the proposed National Land Use Act (NaLUA) of the Philippines which seeks to institutionalize a national land use policy intended to end the degradation of the country’s land resources and optimize sustainable development. The activity aimed to (a) generate comments and issues on the proposed NaLUA, and (b) solicit recommendations on how to address these issues.

Among the issues that were identified is the complicated and disconnected planning process that is being adopted in the local level. Guidelines for the preparation of Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan, Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), and Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) emanates from three agencies, and the CLUP and CDP seem to be repetitive in the sense that contents are similar. Planning period must also be clarified. With these, the harmonization of all the planning processes from the national to local level particularly the preparation of the various plans was proposed to be taken into consideration.

To ensure that land use concerns are addressed, other recommendations were identified which include: (a) creation of a technical committee, with composition based on EO 72 series of 1993, under the provincial development council that will review the land use plans, (b) creation of a local planning core group headed by the city planning and development office/municipal planning and development office (CPDO/MPDO) with members from different offices of the local government units, instead of CPDO/MPDO alone, to prepare and update the CLUPs, and (c) provide sanctions to LGUs which do not comply to the policies.


Engr. Gilberto Abion of NEDA Region 5 presents the salient features of NaLUA.


Breakout sessions generating comments, issues and recommendations.

Generated inputs from the consultations conducted by different regions will be integrated and presented during the 11th National Land Use Committee meeting.




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