The economic performance of the Ilocos Region as measured by its Gross Regional Development Performance (GRDP) grew by 4.6 percent in 2021. This was highlighted in the  2021 Report on the Economic Performance of the Ilocos Region News Conference coordinated by the  Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) Regional Office (RO) 1 in collaboration with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) RO 1 and other regional line agencies on April 28, 2022 at Ynad’s Place Hotel Resort, San Fernando City, La Union..

In the NEDA RO 1 statement read d by Asst. Regional Director Irenea B. Ubungen on behalf of  RDC 1 Vice Chairperson and NEDA Regional Director Nestor G. Rillon, she emphasized that the  reopening of the region’s economy aided the region’s  recovery from 7.7 percent contraction in 2020 to a  4.6 percent growth  in 2021. She explained that this can be attributed to lifting of lockdowns, continued and easier flow of goods and services, and resumption of various economic activities where job opportunities became more available.

Top: ARD Irenea Ubungen delivers the NEDA Statement on the 2021 GRDP Performance
Below: Assistant National Statistician, Wilma Guillen of PSA Central Office (center) responds questions from the participants during the open forum.

Dir. Ubungen also provided analysis on the performance of the three major sectors of the economy, namely: 1) Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (AFF); 2) Industry ; and 3) Services. Of the three sectors, Services remained the biggest contributor with a  51.7 percent share to the region’s economy followed by Industry at 30.7 percent. She highlighted that the economic outputs of Services and Industry were brought by the increase in household consumption expenditures which accounted for 98.3 percent of the region’s gross domestic expenditure in 2021 and the continuing good performance of the construction sub-sector that became the growth driver of  Industry. She added that the region regained the momentum of accelerating infrastructure development to stimulate and support socio-economic growth.

The performance of these sectors was attributed to the re-opening of establishments due to lower quarantine restrictions that led to a higher annual employment rate at 92.1 percent in 2021 from 86.56 percent in 2020. “With the improved employment status in the region, along with the continued provision of fiscal stimulus by the government, the people were given financial viability to contribute to our region’s economic recovery through spending,” Ubungen added.  

The AFF posted the lowest contribution to the region’s economy at 17.6 percent because of its vulnerability to economic shocks such as natural disasters that hit the region in 2021.  She recalled that in October 2021, typhoon Maring caused much damage which magnified the reversal in the growth of AFF.

She emphasized that the region remains to be optimistic of better economic performance for the coming years amidst the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the tension between Ukraine-Russia through the increased domestic consumption coupled with operation towards looser restrictions and expanded reopening of the national and regional economy.

PSA Assistant National Statistician, William A. Guillen of the Social Sector Statistics Services underscored the importance of data and indicators to measure and track the economic progress of the region and the country in her opening message. She also shared the on-going efforts of PSA to compile the provincial product accounts (PPAs) which will measure economic performance at the provincial level. She said that this was started last year with identified pilot provinces and is expected to cover more provinces until 2025 for its eventual institutionalization.

PSA 1 Regional Director Shiela O. De Guzman presented the details of the region’s GRDP and Gross Regional Domestic Expenditures (GRDE).   Representatives from regional line agencies, private sector institutions, media outfits across the region and data sources attended the news conference.