CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Oct. 30 (PIA) -- National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) projects positive economic outlook as Central Luzon bounces back from the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
During the first episode of the Dagyaw Central Luzon: The Open Government Virtual Town Hall Meeting 2020, NEDA OIC-Regional Director Agustin Mendoza said government efforts to recover the supply chain and strengthen basic commodity flows enabled the slowdown in the price increase of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
"Monthly inflation rate in Central Luzon from 2019 to September 2020 is fluctuating, but the average inflation for the said period is at 2.9 percent. This is well within the government target," Mendoza said.
He added that prices of essential goods remain stable and fell within the acceptable range.
"The agriculture, manufacturing, industry, and services contributed greatly to stabilize prices in Central Luzon. Supply easily copes up with the demand," he furthered.
In terms of labor statistics, employment rate dropped to 89.7% in July 2020 from 94% during the same period last year, primarily because of the disruptions due to COVID-19 pandemic.
"The good news is from just 72.7% employment rate during the first quarter, it increased to 89.7% during the third quarter. This is an indication that the economy is slowly recovering from the COVID disruptions and we are slowly opening our economy, particularly the agriculture, education, and transportation sectors, among others," Mendoza said.
Consequently, unemployment rate decreased to just 10.9% in September from 27% in April, indicating that the region is slowly returning to the growth trajectory.
"Passenger traffic at the Clark International Airport significantly decreased by 70% from almost three million passengers in 2019 to just about one million this year. This is because other countries affected by COVID-19 have travel restrictions. But once these travel restrictions are freed up, Clark can return to its former level of passenger traffic," he said.
Consequently, commercial flights this year dropped again to 8,461 level. On the other hand, cargo volume for the third quarter increased to 979, which means that either exports or imports with neighboring countries are operating again.
To sustain this growth, the government capitalizes on enhancing the connectivity framework so that we can integrate the developments of neighbosing regions like Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon into a Greater Capital Region.
"We do this by modernizing our expressway systems or standard highways. By doing so, we can facilitate the speedy transfer of agricultural commodities which in turn will give incremental income to farmers. At the same time, this will also result in lower prices for consumers of agricultural farm produce," Mendoza said.
Among the ongoing construction in the region, he said, include the MRT 7, PNR North 1, Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase 1 , and Cavite-Bataan Interlink Bridge projects.
Aside from that, he said the NEDA is also developing a masterplan for connectivity highways on the Eastern Luzon Seaboard and Western Philippine Seaboard of the region.
Also included in the infrastructure projects in Central Luzon are the Clark New Passenger Terminal and New Clark City Mix-Used Industrial Real Estate Development.
"Once all Build Build Build projects in Central Luzon and the entire Greater Capital Region are completed, we can expect additional employment, investors, revenue, and economic growth not only in the region, but in the entire Philippines," he said. (CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)