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Beyond statistics

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CENTRAL LUZON’S economy grew by 7.1 percent in 2018, keeping its rank as the third largest contributor to the national economy.

So, the Philippine Statistics Authority announced so proudly. “Industry remained to have the largest share to the 48.6 percent regional output.

Services had shares of 37.6 percent while Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) had 13.8 percent,” quantifies PSA regional director Edgardo Pare of the sectoral shares of the regional economic growth.

Seconding Pare’s bright outlook, National Economic and Development Authority regional director Leon M. Dacanay Jr. even upped the ante, saying the Gross Regional Domestic Product of Central Luzon “is unceasingly showing signs of unwavering vitality and dynamism.”

Proffering: Services grew faster by 7.8 percent from 5.6 percent in 2017, with all subsectors speeding up except for Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities.

Conceding: AHFF decelerated to 3.7 percent in 2018 from its previous 3.9 percent, with Agriculture and Forestry slowing down to 3.1 percent from 4.1 percent, even as Fishing grew at a rate of 6.7 percent from 2.9 percent in 2017.

The last entry – Fishing growing by nearly threefold percentage – assuaging, if not totally negating, the lamentation of Zambales and Bataan fisherfolk of the deprivation of their livelihood at the West Philippine Sea!

Hailed Dacanay: “These strong macroeconomic fundamentals and mature economic forts have managed to suppress inflation in 2018. It also sustained the expansion of the regional economy and achieved a desirable level of economic growth close to the target set in the Central Luzon Regional Development Plan 2017-2022.”

Vis-à-vis these bright prospects, indeed, accomplishments in the regional economy, how fares the poverty index in Central Luzon? The employment – underemployment and unemployment, included – rate in the region?

In fine, did this growth trickle down to the so-called peripheries, to the last and the least of the communities?

Statistics no matter how bright are always cold. In any development, it is the human factor that matters most.

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