Northern Mindanao regains growth momentum | Inquirer News

Northern Mindanao regains growth momentum

Container vans are loaded into a ship at MindanaoContainer Terminal inside the Phividec Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental. The port is Mindanao’s main platform for international trade. northern mindanao momentum

TRADE LINK Container vans are loaded into a ship at Mindanao Container Terminal inside the Phividec Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental. The port is Mindanao’s main platform for international trade. —PHOTO COURTESY OF MINDANAO CONTAINER TERMINAL

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Northern Mindanao’s economy has regained its growth momentum, which was last noted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is capable of lifting at least 500,000 people out of poverty in the next five years, according to government economists.

Mylah Faye Cariño, regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), noted that the region’s economy had registered sustained expansion in 2022 after a strong beating by the lockdowns during the two-year pandemic.


After contracting by 5.3 percent in 2020, the regional economy rebounded in 2021, growing at 6.3 percent, followed by a 7.2 percent expansion in 2022.


Cariño likened the economic growth set in the last two years to the period 2001 to 2019 when the region’s economy was growing at an annual average of 6.6 percent, the highest at 10.1 percent in 2002.

Due to this sustained economic expansion, according to Cariño, the living conditions of 684,000 people classified as poor in the region improved in 2018.

“This was the most substantial reduction of poverty in the region,” she told reporters in a year-end socioeconomic briefing on Wednesday.

Services, industry

If the current regional economic expansion is sustained, according to Cariño, it will be on track to lifting 500,000 people out of poverty by 2028.

“We even surpassed that target in 2018,” she pointed out. “This will be our contribution to the national poverty reduction effort.”

Comprising of five provinces and two highly urbanized cities, Northern Mindanao is home to 5.02 million people, based on the 2020 census. The economic outputs of Cagayan de Oro City and Bukidnon province account for over half of the regional economic output.


The regional development plan targets annual growth of 6.5 percent to 8 percent in the next five years, in order for poverty incidence among the population to be reduced to just 15 percent to 17 percent.

The region’s growth in 2022 was largely driven by the services sector, expanding 10.1 percent year-on-year, and industry at 6.6 percent. The growth in the services sector was largely driven by the resurgence of tourism as well as retail trade.

Agriculture had a measly growth of 0.5 percent in 2022, a dip in performance from its 3.8 percent growth in 2021.

Regional economic output in 2022 is valued at P935.3 billion with services accounting for P509.9 billion or 54.5 percent, industry for P238.8 billion or 25.6 percent, and agriculture for P186.6 billion or 19.9%.

In 2022, the region’s gross value added in agriculture— the bulk of which was produced in Bukidnon—accounted for 10.5 percent of the country’s total, second only to Central Luzon’s share of 13.7 percent.

Room for improvement

Cariño said there was a lot of room for improvement in the agriculture sector, especially in ramping up farm mechanization.

The region is among the country’s top producers of cattle, pineapple, hog, banana, coconut, corn, papaya, sugarcane, and chicken, she noted.

But Cariño admits more quality jobs can be generated from massive industrial expansion, thereby addressing underemployment which currently hovers at around 10 percent, although this has also declined in the last two years.

According to Ralph Paguio, president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Northern Mindanao is best positioned to achieve faster industrialization given its ready location for manufacturing businesses.

He points to the state-run Phividec industrial estate spanning 3,000 hectares in Tagoloan and Villanueva towns in Misamis Oriental, which also hosts an international container terminal that is among the country’s major platforms for export and import.

Paguio noted that throughout Mindanao, the region has the most concentration of manufacturing plants.

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READ: DOT bullish about further rise in Northern Mindanao’s tourist arrivals

TAGS: Economy, Growth, Mindanao, momentum

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