By: Perla Lena
THE financial inclusion advocacy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Western Visayas is “progressing quite well,” according to Department of Economics Statistics deputy director Fernando Y. Silvoza.
In an interview after the recent awarding ceremony and appreciation lunch for Western Visayas and Negros Island Region (NIR) stakeholders, Silvoza said the program is showing potentials.
He added that while “most of the banks are well represented in Western Visayas”, they do not look at the number of banks when talking of financial inclusions.
Silvoza stressed that additional information were added to strengthen their analysis.
“Financial inclusion is a matter of how we provide access to all people in terms of banking services much in the same way, it is also link to inclusive growth because if banks were able to touch base with a broader base of the population then there’s greater chances for everyone to contribute to growth particularly in the locality,” he explained.
BSP is now doing a benchmarking and initial figures showed that “it is very promising with respect to the Visayas.”
“We noted that there’s been quite a good number in the result with due respect to deposit generation, both in terms of accounts as well as in the aggregates. So far we noted that while there is some sort of good numbers in the residential areas, particularly in Iloilo. We noted that there are other areas such as Sara, which registered quite a low number of accounts generated, but it has big contribution in terms of aggregates,” Silvoza added.
In a presentation on domestic deposits, Silvoza said that as of end of 2016, Western Visayas has a total of 1,828,440 accounts.
Iloilo has 1,204,668 accounts with P99,000 as average amount. There are 904,800 accounts in Iloilo City with an average amount of PHP118,000.
Aklan has 200,837 accounts; Antique with 159,100; Capiz with 246,770 and Guimaras, 17,065.
Meanwhile, Silvoza noted that the regional gross domestic product of Western Visayas slowed down to 6.1 percent in 2016 from 8.1 in the previous year.
The biggest drop is in agriculture, fishery and forestry sector – from -0.7 in 2015 to negative -0.9 in 2016.
“My understanding, it’s a personal note, is that Visayas is transitioning from agriculture to services and industry, hence the slowdown,” he said. “There’s been a sprouting of BPO in Iloilo and perhaps this is just what we call a transition phase, eventually you see services peaking up, eventually moving from industry and services. It’s quite promising.”
Meantime, the less optimistic position of the business sector during the second quarter of the year was just normal. The expectation starts to peak during the third and fourth quarter.
“It is cyclical in its sense because there quite a number of factors. One is the weather condition; normally it’s on the second quarter where Visayas and the rest of the country would be experiencing quite a number of typhoons that would temper harvest in agriculture to a certain extent,” Silvoza explained.
On the other hand, regional director Ro-Ann Bacal of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Wednesday admitted that the major contributor to the economic growth of Western Visayas, and in other parts of the country, is the services sector.
The agriculture, fishery and forestry performed better when compared with 2015, which was expected due to an extended dry spell.
Bacal said that Western Visayas will still be agriculture and tourism based but “more diversified.”
However, she said that looking at the trajectory of the magnitude of the region’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, still Western Visayas is at number four among regions outside of the National Capital Region (NCR). (PNA)