April 23, 2024

■  Hanna C. Lacsamana   

Does everyone feel wealthy yet?

Baguio City has recorded the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022 among pilot provinces and highly-urbanized cities in the country.

Based on the results of the Provincial Product Accounts of the 16 pilot regions outside the National Capital Region covering 82 provinces and 17 HUCs from November to December 2023 released on March 18, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported Baguio recorded a per capita GDP amounting to P420,016, the highest among HUCs, followed by Cagayan de Oro City and Lapu-Lapu City with an estimated per capita GDP ofP243,936 and P313,039, respectively.

The top 10 provinces and HUCs also registered per capita GDPs higher than the national average of P178,751, the PSA said.

The Provincial Product Accounts is a mechanism to compile the GDP at the sub-national level.

What does this mean for Baguio and its people?

Midland Courier sought for the PSA’s interpretation of the PPA data when the report became viral after its release, with residents sharing reactions and comments online about how they felt living in one of wealthiest cities in the country.

In an interview on March 22, PSA Cordillera Chief Statistical Specialist Aldrin Bahit said the GDP is the total economic output (billion at constant prices) divided by the total of population of a locality.

For having recorded such economic output of its products and services with gross value added based on the PPA, Bahit said Baguio is wealthy indeed – and wealthiest HUC outside Metro Manila.

However, it does not mean that every resident in the city is wealthy for that matter.

Puwede nating sabihing wealthy, but it does not necessarily translate na mayaman tayong lahat. Puwedeng mataas ang economic output, pero maaaring ang mga gains ng economy ay hindi ramdam ng lahat,” Bahit said.

To illustrate, he said a big company which has billions worth of economic output but only has 10 employees benefiting from it does not necessarily make an entire locality or its residents feel wealthy.

The results, he said, can be taken to mean as the wealth of the whole community.

In December 2023, PSA Cordillera reported Baguio as the fastest growing economy in the region as it continued its expansion, growing by 11.3 percent in 2022 with an estimated GDP of P155.03 billion, surpassing the pre-pandemic level figure by P2.2B.

During the period, all industries in the city grew, and the fastest growths were observed in transportation and storage, accommodation and food activities, and other services, as the city’s economy continued to be services-driven, followed by industry sector.