VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte repeats wrong claim about Davao City’s economic growth

READ THIS FACT CHECK IN FILIPINO

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his second state of the nation address (SONA) Monday, repeated an incorrect claim he had earlier made about Davao City's economic growth.

STATEMENT

Duterte said:

For 23 years ako mayor ng (I was mayor of) Davao eh. Makita mo ang Davao ngayon (Look at Davao now). You have been- LGUs before. What city is now hitting nine growth percent? Eh nandoon pa kami sa Mindanao, binobomba pa kami sa Davao (Davao is in Mindanao, and we are being bombed). Davao is nine-growth.

Source: State of the Nation Address, July 24 2017, watch from 1:29:50-1:30:15

FACT

Duterte made a similar claim, in a March 30 speech in Malacañang.

That Davao City’s economy had grown at a rate of nine percent, and that such growth is not seen elsewhere in the country, are both incorrect. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Is Davao City’s economic growth unprecedented in the country’s history?)

First, government data on economic growth is disaggregated by region, not by cities. The indicator used by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is called the gross regional domestic product (GRDP), defined as “the aggregate of gross value added of all resident producer units in the region.”

Second, other regions have grown at rates faster than nine percent. The economy of Central Visayas grew at a rate of 12.9 percent in 2010. Zamboanga Peninsula posted the same growth rate in 2012.

Duterte was Davao City mayor for 22 years and four months. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: How long did Duterte serve as Davao City mayor?)

BACKSTORY

Like his first SONA last year, Duterte spoke of his economic programs in broad strokes, and in relation to his administration’s peace and order policies. (See SONA Promise Tracker: Economy)

“I have learned that the economy surges only when there is peace and order prevailing in places where investors can pour their capital and expertise,” he said.

“I have learned from my experience in Davao City that investor confidence (is) bolstered and fortified only if a potent force and mechanism for protection of local and foreign investments are in place,” he added.

In terms of fiscal policy, Duterte was similarly vague, urging the Senate to “support my tax reform in full, and pass it without haste.”

Yet, seemingly in jest, he also said, “If you think that’s a waste, fine. If you think it’s not good, that’s okay with me.”

The House of Representatives approved the Duterte administration’s proposed Tax Reform and Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) in June. Duterte had certified the bill urgent, and the Senate is expected to take it up when Congress reopens in July.

Duterte said the passage of the tax reform law is “needed to fund the proposed 2018 budget,” which he submitted to Congress after he delivered his SONA.

Sources:

PSA, Regional Accounts of the Philippines, Gross Regional Domestic Product, 2013 to 2015

PSA, Regional Accounts of the Philippines, Gross Regional Domestic Product, 2012 to 2014

PSA, Regional Accounts of the Philippines, Gross Regional Domestic Product, 2010 - 2012

PSA, Regional Accounts of the Philippines, Gross Regional Domestic Product, 2010 - 2012

PSA, Bicol Region’s economic growth was the fastest in 2105 , July 28, 2016

PSA, Davao Region’s records the fastest growth in 2014, July 30, 2015

FOR FURTHER READING

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