Quarterly Regional Economic Situationer
Eastern Visayas Region
Fourth Quarter 2003
I. OVERVIEW/ASSESSMENT OF THE ECONOMY
The region’s economic picture for this quarter was generally on the bright side.
Several economic indicators showed positive performance such as the indicators in the
crops and fishery sectors, power, transport (land, air and sea) and tourism. Also,
several big events and achievements for Region VIII marked this quarter.
To name a few achievements, the region was a partner-region in the 2003 Asian
Ethnic Food Festival making Region VIII the only region ever invited by the
International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) to be a partner-region for two
years in succession. Secondly, the region was put in the limelight when Calbiga, a
fourth class municipality in the province of Samar, won the most coveted Bursary
Award of the prestigious international competition Nations in Bloom, held in the
Netherlands. Thirdly, the region’s hosting of the third Boy Scouts of the Philippines
Rover Moot brought in a thousand visitors. Finally, Leyte’s celebration of the 59th Leyte
Gulf Landings was graced by several foreign dignitaries.
On the negative side of things, a landslide happened in Southern Leyte which
took away over two hundred lives and caused considerable damage on property, crops
and infrastructure. Her excellency, the President, was here to visit the victims.
This quarter’s inflation rate stood at 1.9 percent.
A. AGRICULTURE AND FISHERY SECTOR
Gross production of palay for this quarter was estimated at 207,376 metric tons
showing a growth rate of 6.4 percent in comparison to the same quarter last
year. Harvest area grew by 187 hectares compared to the fourth quarter of
2002. Average yield per hectare this quarter was estimated at 3.2 metric tons
per hectare (approximately 64.8 cavans per hectare) while yield per hectare in
irrigated farms stood at 4.1 metric tons per hectare (approximately 82 cavans
per hectare). This quarter’s yield per hectare for all farms was better compared
to the previous quarter which was only 2.9 metric tons per hectare. Chief
reasons for the increase in yield were adequate rainfall, the aggressive
campaign on the use of hybrid and certified seeds under the Department of
Agriculture and National Food Authority (NFA) distribution scheme of giving one
bag of fertilizer for free for every purchase of one sack of seeds, and the
increased awareness of farmers on the Balanced Fertilization Strategy.
Prepared by NEDA based on data obtained from government agencies, Quick Survey results and
inputs from provinces/cities; validated during the Roundtable Discussion on February 26, 2004.
This report as well as back issues are available at www.neda8.ph.
In support to the reduction of post harvest losses and production of good quality
rice to enhance better market price, the province of Leyte distributed 12 units of
mechanical mobile flash dryers to the municipalities of Carigara, Albuera,
Kananga, Matag-ob, Villaba, Javier, Abuyog, Mahaplag, Inopacan, Hindang,
Bato and Matalom. The flash dryers were under the farm mechanization
program of the provincial government. With these equipment, farmers in the
recipient areas are assured of good quality rice since drying the palay is no
longer a problem even during rainy days.
On the other hand, the Provincial Government of Biliran turned-over to farmers
in major rice-producing barangays, 20 multi-purpose drying pavements worth P2
million and six units mechanical dryers worth P3 million. This was under the
Agricultural Development Program of the Department of Agriculture.
Copra production showed a 3.1 percent growth compared to a year ago. The
price of copra continued to get better. This quarter’s mill gate price of copra
averaged P15.33 which was P2.10 higher than that of a year ago. On the other
hand, farm gate price of copra this quarter averaged P11.63 which was P1.32
higher than that of a year ago.
Preliminary estimate of corn production stood at 13,666 metric tons or a growth
rate of 6.4 percent compared to a year ago. There was a slight decline in area
harvested by 1.1 percent due to crop shifting by farmers in Northern Samar and
Southern Leyte. As of this quarter, yield per hectare was estimated at 0.92metric
ton per hectare. This was 7.0 percent higher than last year’s yield per hectare
due to the introduction of high yielding seeds under the GMA Corn Program,
and the awareness of farmers to apply fertilizer.
In the abaca sector, a National Abaca Congress was held at the Sabin Resort in
Ormoc City from December 3 to 4, 2003. It was participated by representatives
of the abaca industry nationwide such as farmers, local traders,
exporters/importers, researchers and technical experts. Technical papers
presented covered crop production, abaca disease management, post harvest
technology and mechanization and financing schemes for the abaca industry.
Under the Oplan Sagip Abaka Program, the Fiber Industry Development
Authority (FIDA) turned over to Mahaplag, Leyte 780 liters herbicide, 800 liters
insecticide and power and knapsack sprayers. It also turned over to Sogod,
Southern Leyte 800 liters herbicide, 800 liters insecticides and power and
knapsack sprayers. The Oplan Sagip Abaka Program is a regular special project
of FIDA on abaca disease eradication implemented in coordination with local
government units, state colleges and universities and the private sector.
Livestock and Poultry
Cattle inventory as of January 1, 2004 was estimated at 27,005 heads. This was
reported to be lower than the inventory six months before due to the increase in
the number of heads slaughtered in abattoirs especially during Christmas and
fiestas. The region imported live from Bohol and Masbate a total of 5,473 heads
during the last semester of 2003. However, the region had a surplus of meat
supply equivalent to 1,513 heads against its consumption needs for the
Carabao inventory stood at 254,689 heads as of January 1, 2004. During the
past six months, Region VIII imported live from Bohol, Masbate and Camotes
Island of Cebu a total of 5,874 heads. However, the region exported meat
(either sold or just brought outside of Region VIII) as a surplus to other places of
Regions V and VII equivalent to 1,870 heads.
To jump-start the establishment of a carabao dairy farm in the province of
Biliran, the provincial government of Biliran distributed dairy-producing carabaos
to the Larrazabal Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative. A
Total of 12 dairy-producing female Bulgarian Murrah Buffaloes (purebred) was
Region VIII was sufficient in terms of live goats and meat especially with the
present focus on this animal by the Department of Agriculture. As of January 1,
2004, inventory stood at 77,765 heads. The number of goats slaughtered
increased by 17.7 percent compared to a year ago. The increasing demand for
this meat can be observed with the opening up of some eateries in Tacloban
City specializing in goat meat and the availability of chevon in some meat shops
in Tacloban, Ormoc and Maasin.
With the considerable number of hogs slaughtered during the holiday season,
hogs inventory as of January 1, 2004 was estimated at 887,111 heads. The
region imported about 16,917 heads from Mindanao, Bohol and Masbate. The
region exported some of the meat to Manila and other cities outside the region in
the form of lechon, but totaling only 536 heads. With this picture, the region had
a surplus over its consumption requirement for the quarter.
Chicken inventory as of January 1, 2004 stood at 3,932,967 heads. According to
the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the region had a shortage of 1,979,270
heads. There was low stocking of chicken among Swift’s contract growers due
to high culling rate. Culling rate was high because breeders have reached the
point where there was a reduced production of eggs for hatching (a natural
phenomenon). The region has been importing live and dressed chicken from
Cebu. The region has also been importing a significant volume of eggs from
Cebu since the region’s own production of eggs can meet only about 30 percent
of the region’s total requirements.
Fish production in traditional commercial landing centers stood at 11,197 metric
tons or an increase of 8.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2002. Leyte posted
the highest production at 6,423 metric tons followed by Samar with 2,405 metric
tons. The reasons for the increase were: (a) the coordinated moves of local
governments regionwide against illegal fishing by granting police powers to the
Bantay Kalikasan; (b) the strong encouragement by the Bureau of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources among commercial fishing vessel operators to fish in the
high seas (beyond 15 kilometers from shoreline) and the strict prohibition to fish
within municipal waters (15 km and below). Yellowfin, tuna, Indo Pacific
mackerel, flying fish and anchovies were the top producing species this quarter.
Municipal marine fishing production showed an 8.2 percent growth over that of
last year. This was chiefly attributed to the following factors: (a) the
establishment of fish sanctuaries particularly in Western Samar, Biliran and
Leyte; (b) the introduction of more fish shelter and fish aggregating devices; (c)
the moratorium of fishing operations in selected fishing grounds to allow species
to replenish themselves; (d) controlled illegal fishing with the activation of Bantay
Kalikasan and; (e) strengthening of coastal resource management with strict
implementation of the ban on illegal fishing and devices. Blue crab was the top
producer, followed by galunggong, tamban and anchovies.
Overall aquaculture production registered a 9.0 percent increase over that of
fourth quarter 2002. Tiger prawn in brackish water fishponds had low mortality
rate due to cool weather. Milk fish had an increase in production due to the
establishment of the Mariculture Zone in Brgy. Malajog, Calbayog City which
had its first harvest this quarter. Mud crab production was actually old stocks
that have grown into marketable sizes in fishponds, some in cages. Tilapia in
fresh water fishpond increased in population due to increased stocks with free
fries and fingerlings from BFAR’s hatcheries in Babatngon, Leyte and Guiuan,
Eastern Samar. The distribution of genetically enhanced tilapia species
GET2000 and GETEXCEL contributed significantly to the increase in tilapia
production. Production of grouper in fish cages increased due to higher demand
for live grouper (lapu-lapu) from Korea and Taiwan. Mussel production was up
while there was no announcement of red tide. Seaweed production in Dawahon
Island in Bato, Leyte enjoyed continuous trading for electronic product
processing. A large portion of Eastern Samar seaweed production was
processed into carrageenan (an export commodity) and some quantities went to
the newly booming pickles industry catering the domestic market.
Under the Provincial Government of Biliran’s three-phase livelihood program for
fisheries, the province distributed 84 piecies of fish traps and six units of non-
motorized bancas to 21 associations for free under Phase I. For phase II, it
distributed fishing nets to 11 fishermen’s associations and four individual
fishermen. For Phase III, the government spent P913,423 for the 38 units of
motor engines, fishing nets and multiple hand lines provided to the fisher folks
as soft loan.
B. INDUSTRY SECTOR
Power demand for the fourth quarter 2003 was up by 8.3 percent from the same
quarter 2002. Total amount of energy sold regionwide was up by 17.2 percent
compared to the fourth quarter of 2002. These were primarily attributed to the
increase in demand from distribution utilities customers, an indication of the
increase in house connections, consumption during the holidays and
commercial activities. Sales to Cebu increased by 5.5 percent but sales to
Luzon decreased by 16.9 percent.
On the government side, some of the major achievements were as follows: (a)
the DPWH completed this quarter the asphalt overlay of the Palo-Carigara-
Ormoc Road, Jaro-Carigara Section, (b) a “patubig sa Barangay Program,” was
launched in Biliran to provide the people with adequate and safe water supply.
The Provincial Government of Biliran distributed construction materials for the
water systems to most of Biliran’s 132 barangays.
Total expenditure of the DPWH for public construction totaled P343 million.
Compared to the preceding quarter, this was 28 percent more because the end
of the year is usually the period for the full-swing implementation of projects.
Compared to a year ago, this quarter’s total expenditure was lower by 22.2
percent following the decline in the total budget of the DPWH Infrastructure
Program for Region VIII.
On the part of private contractors, the pending release of government funds for
payment of projects was a major set back as their profits were eaten up by the
interest on bank loans. They are concerned about the very high price of cement
and steel bars these days.
Exports/Imports and Manufacturing
According to the Bureau of Customs, coconut oil exports for this quarter had a
higher gross value compared to copra exports.
PASAR, the region’s biggest exporter, reported a good production performance
and enjoyed lower charges for treatment/refining.
Per report of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the volume of sea cargoes
that went to foreign trade was 33.5 percent higher than that of the fourth quarter
of 2002. The increase in foreign cargoes was due to the increase in PASAR by
72.5 percent and in PHILPHOS by 20.3 percent. Of the total volume of foreign
cargoes, one-third was export cargoes and the rest was import cargoes.
C. SERVICE SECTOR
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Business names registered for the quarter totaled 1,400 registering a 26.1
percent decline compared to the fourth quarter of 2002. The primary factor for
this is the forthcoming national elections where investors tend to adopt a wait-
and-see stance. However, existing SMEs made significant achievements during
the quarter in review.
Firstly, Eastern Visayas was a partner region during the Asian Ethnic Food
Festival (AEFF) at the World Trade Center, Pasay City on November 21-23.
Eastern Visayas entrepreneurs proved equal to the challenges of the partner
program. The launching of the new packaging of processed mussel meat during
this occasion was tagged as the first of its kind in the Philippines and can be
considered a major breakthrough of the mussel industry. Also, four (4) products
developed through the program were nominated to the Trendiest Philippine
Product Contest. These are: binagol, moron, podpod and seaweed pickles.
Region VIII exhibitors generated a total of P 102,332 in cash sales and P5,700
in booked sales.
Secondly, a regional trade fair was held offside the Boy Scouts of the Philippines
camping area during the Leyte Gulf Landings Celebration while an Agri-Aqua
and Food Fair was simultaneously held in Tacloban City. The latter featured
local agricultural and fishery products, ornamental plants, orchids, cut flowers,
native food and delicacies, among others. The fair garnered a gross sale of P1.3
million for the 25 exhibitors.
Meanwhile, Five Star Commercial, a business establishment in Calbayog City
opened its second branch in this city.
Dwelling and Real Estate/Housing
The combined number of residential buildings constructed through PAG-IBIG
and GSIS financing stood at 163 units which was short by two units or 1.2
percent compared to a year ago.
Another setback was that several families in Southern Leyte lost their homes
due to the landslide that happened in December.
The positive effect of the Best of Eastern Visayas in Intramuros held in mid
September was immediately felt by the tourism sector during the fourth
quarter. There was an observable influx of foreign tourist to Region VIII
starting October. According to the Leyte Park Hotel, where they only had 81
foreign guests in September, they had 1,096 in October. One of the reasons
cited by foreigners why they chose Region VIII as a destination was their
perception of Region VIII as being peaceful. The bulk of foreign tourists during
the quarter was from the USA.
The 59th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings was a local activity that had
national and international impact. The affair was graced by representatives of
allied countries (e.g US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada) and non-allied
countries (Japan, Germany, etc.).
Side by side with the celebration of the Leyte Gulf Landings was the holding of
the Third National Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) Rover Moot, a camping
activity. A total of 1,000 boy scouts coming from 107 delegations nationwide
joined the affair. The boy scouts were toured to historical sites such as the
MacArthur Circle and the Hill 122, raising the participants cultural awareness.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
The last quarter of 2003 saw the continuous efforts of the various prime
implementers of ICT in the region. The Department of Science and Technology
(DOST) together with the National Computer Center Region VIII conducted two
(2) more website development trainings in Tacloban City. The trainings were
attended by around 80 participants from local government units (LGUs) of the
region. The trainings were part of the on-going effort of the DOST to assist the
LGUs in establishing web presence.
The institutionalization and capability building of state colleges and universities
(SUCs) in the region were also pursued through the creation of two (2) more
Information Technology Training and Development Centers (ITTDCs). These
were at the Southern Leyte State College of Science and Technology, in Sogod,
Southern Leyte, and at the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman,
Northern Samar. Both institutions were provided with financial assistance from
DOST for the procurement of needed IT equipment (hardware) and softwares
for the operation of the Centers.
The Eastern Visayas Information Sharing Network (EVisNet), on the other hand,
as an ICT project of the Regional Development Council (RDC), continued with
its efforts to lower down the cost of internet connection in the region. It recently
launched its very own "Kidlat" prepaid internet card last quarter. This was
shortly after its main bandwidth upgrade to Globe.
Fourteen (14) new cell sites were put up during the quarter. This brought the
current total to 69 cell sites which was 60.5 percent higher than the number a
year ago. New operational cell sites are found in the municipalities of Sta. Fe,
Alang-alang, Palompon and Carigara in Leyte; Allen, Northern Samar; and
Malitbog, Southern Leyte. Four new cell sites of SUN CELLULAR are now
operational in Tacloban City.
The volume of airline passengers for the quarter totaled 87,583 exceeding last
year’s volume by 9,058 passengers. This was primarily brought about by the
observable influx of domestic and foreign tourists during the holidays and the
promotional offers by airlines which encouraged travel. The volume of
passengers in the Catarman airport increased by 58.1 percent for the reason
that said airport was closed for some time in the fourth quarter of 2002.
The number of motor vehicles registered during this quarter was higher by 15.7
percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. There was a 41.1 percent
increase in new private vehicles registered due to financial schemes offered by
car dealers and the availability of surplus multi-cabs, vans and trucks coming
from other places. Since private vehicles comprised 84.5 percent of total
vehicles registered, the increase in registration of this type of vehicle offset the
decrease in new for-hire and new government vehicles registered.
This quarter showed an 8.1 percent increase in cargo traffic, 3.6 percent
increase in vessel traffic, and 1.6 percent in passenger traffic.
Passenger Traffic. This quarter’s passenger traffic increased by 1.6 percent in
comparison to the same quarter last year due to the significant increase in
passengers at the ports of Ormoc, Dapdap, Pingag, Liloan Ferry Terminal and
Cargoes. Cargo throughput for this quarter reached 2,209,275 metric tons of
which 66.7 percent went to domestic trade and 33.3 percent were foreign trade.
Of the total domestic trade, 25.4 percent was from BALWHARTICO in Allen,
17.7 percent from PHILPHOS and 10.9 percent from Tacloban Port. On the
other hand, 66.5 percent of total foreign trade was import cargoes and 33.5
percent was export cargoes. Of the total import cargoes, 27.0 percent came
from PASAR and 72.6 percent from PHILPHOS. PASAR and PHILPHOS also
got the biggest share of export cargoes with PASAR having a 42.5 percent
share and PHILPHOS with 40.5 percent share. The New Leyte Edible Oil
contributed 6.1 percent to total export cargoes.
As a new development in the government sector, the Implementing Rules and
Regulations (IRR) of RA 9184 otherwise known as the Government
Procurement Reform Act was approved by President Arroyo during this quarter.
The IRR prescribes the guidelines, rules and regulations for the modernization,
standardization and regulation of procurement activities of the government
based on the principle of transparency, accountability, equity and economy. In
consonance with this, the Procurement Service conducted a seminar on RA
9184 and the Government Electronic Procurement System for government
agencies in Region VIII.
D. MACRO INDICATORS
Rounds of price increases in petroleum products was experienced during the
quarter, pushing the inflation rate in the fuel, light and water category up by 6.7
percent. The shortage in chicken meat and eggs was very much felt during the
holiday season resulting to the sudden increase in the prices of these
commodities. Due to the increase in demand for pork, a substitute for chicken,
the price of pork also increased. However, the price of rice was stable, thus,
inflation rate for the food category remained low at 0.1%. Overall, inflation rate
for the quarter was registered at 1.9 percent.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment, one establishment
closed while 22 employees were displaced during the quarter in review. But
for the whole of 2003, a total of 99 firms in the region ceased operation
involving 1,107 workers. Most of these were small service and retail
establishments. The main reason cited was economic difficulty, i.e., income
was not enough to sustain their operation. Despite this, the DOLE reported
that the overall employment condition remained fair because from January to
October of 2003, 75 new establishments opened in the different parts of the
region providing work to 1,046 members of the labor force. The displaced
workers in 2003 were referred to the Technical Education and Skills
Development Authority for retraining/skills upgrading.
Various job fairs for local and foreign employment were conducted during the
quarter, also as a measure to fight unemployment. In Southern Leyte alone,
around 100 successful applicants for domestic helpers and factory workers
have already been deployed to Dubai, Taiwan, Hongkong, Brunei and
As of this quarter, the labor strike at the biggest department store in
Borongan, Eastern Samar has not been resolved yet.
Peace and Order
Crime incidence for the whole region declined by 13.7 percent or 100 cases
compared to the fourth quarter of 2002. Crime incidence in the provinces also
declined. Among the provinces, the most number of crimes took place in
Leyte totaling 211 cases followed by Samar with 100 cases.
Governor Lerias and the Province of Southern Leyte were recipients of the
Konrad Adenauer Medal for Excellence Award for effective local governance
last December 5, 2003. The Search was sponsored by the Local Government
Development Foundation and Konrad Adenauer Stiflung. Governor Lerias was
the only Governor-recipient award nationwide with two other awardees coming
from the municipal and barangay levels of other regions.
The Provincial Government of Leyte and the Department of Education
participated in the Education and Twinning Mission in Nachville, Tenesse, USA
from October 2 to 11, 2003. The mission was conducted in order for the
participants to observe how the Applied Academics for Excellence Project
(APEX) of the DepEd is implemented in secondary schools in the U.S.A.
Another objective was to open up new doors for a possible Sisterhood and
Twinning with the City of Nashville.
Calbiga, a fourth class municipality in the province of Samar, won the most
coveted Bursary Award of the prestigious international competition Nations
in Bloom, held in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands last October 2003. Calbiga
bested 236 competitors from around the world.
The Province of Leyte continued the conduct of civic actions in the different
barangays in selected municipalities. For 2003, some 36,890 indigent patients
were beneficiaries of medical, dental and nutrition feeding services and training
on beauty/salon services. On the other hand, the Interplast Inc. Medical Mission
benefited 67 indigent patients with cleft lip, cell palate and other deformities
requiring minor surgical operations.
In response to an issue raised in previous reports regarding the increasing water
rates and deteriorating quality of service of the Leyte Metropolitan Water District
(LMWD), the Infrastructure Committee of the Regional Development Council
conducted a special meeting to deliberate on the issue. Two motions were
raised: (a) for LMWD to lift the contract/agreement with new consumers which
prohibits them from making any complaints about LMWD services and (b) for
LMWD to conduct public hearings before implementing any water rate increase.
The Drug Rehabilitation Center, a flagship project of the Regional
Development Council (RDC), opened in Dulag, Leyte.
II. Future Outlook
The Sulong financial program of the Department of Trade and Industry will
start releasing about P5 million to four entrepreneurs in Dolores, Eastern
Samar by March.
A mini mall in Borongan is scheduled to open within the second quarter of
Tabunan-Balacdas road in Borongan under the Agrarian Reform Program will
soon be completed.
Approval of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology
will spur the growth and wide adoption of ICT in the region.
Implementation of Phase II of the Personal Computer for Secondary Schools
Program will facilitate the advancement of ICT in the region.
Increased spending with the coming elections
Construction of the building for Jolibee in Maasin City is on-going.
Three road projects in Southern Leyte under the 23 rd yen loan package in the
Pacific and the Panaon areas will soon be started. The mobilization of
equipment is scheduled this February.
Inflow of donations and assistance from local, national and international
organizations for the Southern Leyte disaster victims will facilitate the
rehabilitation of damaged structures.
Novo Branch II to open in Calbayog City
The Leyte Academic Center as an academic facility will have a positive effect
on the quality of education in the region.
Package 4, Calbiga-San Juanico Bridge Road Section and Package 4A, San
Juanico Bridge Rehabilitation are nearing completion.
EVRAA Meet to be hosted by the province of Leyte in March
The new mariculture zone in Brgy. Linawan in Basey, Samar will boost
Two farm-to-market roads (FMR) under the DA-Infres fund have been approved:
the Lulugayan-Dogongan FMR in Jiabong and the Roxas-Macatimbang-Dawo
in Calbayog City (14 km and 18 km, respectively). Totoal value is P70 million.
Fuel price hikes
Foreseen lack of copper concentrates raw materials worldwide will affect
The problems/issues below were raised by the private sector and government
key informants (KIs) of the Quick Survey or surfaced during the Roundtable Discussion:
For RDC/SecCom/SubCom Action
There is a need to streamline the bureaucratic procedures in the Bureau of
Customs, e.g. rice imports, industrial inputs and exports. (For action by the
Economic Development Committee).
For Agencies/LGUs Action
Concerned agencies must closely monitor manufacturing establishments so that
prices of construction materials (cement and steel bars) will not be so high.