The economy of Mindanao was expected to have grown by 7.2% last year, although the actual number is set to be revealed within the first two quarters of the year, said Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) deputy executive director.
“For 2019, we expect Mindanao to have registered the usual higher than national growth average of 7.1 GRDP (gross regional domestic product) on the back of sustained expansion of services, industry and agri-fisheries sectors across Mindanao regions,” said Montenegro.
He said the island’s GRDP, which is the average of the GRDPs of the region, has been attaining sustaining growth during the last two decades with an average growth rate 5.8%.
However, before the start of the last decade, its growth was stunted due to the lack of stable electricity sources. Even then Mindanao still posted an average of 6.6% GRDP growth, higher than the national average 6.2%.
Between 2010 and 2015, Mindanao, at that time mainly relying on the two government-run hydroelectric power complexes in Agus and Pulangi, was experiencing massive power outages due to the lack of stable power plants.
“Such robust Mindanao performance showed Mindanao’s resiliency amidst adversity, and the island being able to gain from structural reforms and sustained development programs,” Montenegro added, pointing out that investors started putting up new businesses.
It was only in 2015 when the newest power project, the 300-megawatt coal-fired power project of the Aboitiz-owned Therma South Inc., started operating. This eventually became the starting point for the coming in of new power plants.
Based on the official website of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, Mindanao yesterday had a reserve of 961 megawatts and a capacity of 2789 megawatts.
To sustain its growth, Montenegro said Mindanao should be able to provide priority to rural development and make economic “more inclusive and sustainable.”