Mining and quarrying stands as the primary barrier to the Cordillera Administrative Region’s (CAR) economic growth, experiencing a negative  1.7% growth in 2023. The said industry  continues to encounter a downtrend as it decelerated to 1.7% from 0.4% in 2022.  Agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry, also decline at negative  1.3 percent. Villafe Alibuyog, Regional Director of Philippine Statistics Authority-Regional Statistical Services Office (PSA-RSSO) CAR, said those  industries hampered the expansion of the regional economy.

Alibuyog lead other government officials in presenting the  2023 Cordillera  Economic Performance held on Thursday, April 25 at Paragon Hotel, here. The mining and quarrying industry continues to encounter a downtrend as it decelerated to 1.7% from 0.4% in 2022.  The PSA official said that this contraction can be attributed to the “decline in production of gold, copper, and silver”.  Based on obtained data, gold production declined from 2,701 kg in 2022 down to 2,619 kg in 2023. Copper production also contracted from 10,482 metric tons to 9,810 metric
tons. Despite a reported decline in silver production, there was a slight increase from 3,206 kg to 3,324 kg.

Vivian Romero, economist of MInes and Geosciences Bureau Cordillera (MGB-CAR) emphasized  that the mining sector has been adversely affected primarily by the soaring costs of fuels and materials, the need for preventive maintenance, and equipment breakdowns. “Yung trend kasi since last year, pababa talaga siya,”  Romero added. Aside from the weak demand for metals and mining commodities, the MGB  economist said  that the decline can also be linked to the increase in central bank rates aimed at combating inflation . The Russia- Ukraine conflict , and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war,  continue  to impact economic operations globally she added.

From a decrease of 2.1% in 2022, albeit with slight improvement, the agricultural, forestry, and fishing sector has continued to go deeper into losses, experiencing a 1.3% contraction in 2023. The impact of Climate Change is a crucial factor to this contraction, particularly in relation to agricultural lands that have been significantly affected by El Niño.  According to Charles Picpican, Project Evaluation Officer of the Department of Agriculture, Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR), the effects are evident through burnt forests and unirrigated portions of rice terraces due to water scarcity.

“The effect of the El Niño is being felt… it is observable,” Picpican said, noting that the decrease in “water availability” and the “prolonged dry spells” have prevented the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors from replenishing properly.  Furthermore, the DA officer said that their agency  through the regional trade office, funds and implements programs, projects, and activities to help farming communities and their respective local government units cope with these challenges”.

Ruffa Mae T. Payangdo / UB Intern

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