FOR the longest time, the Calabarzon area located in the southern portion of Metro Manila, was regarded as one of the country’s top contributors to the Philippine economy in terms of manufacturing and real estate.

However, in recent years, the Calabarzon region experienced a series of downturns in its economy. Economic growth in in the region slowed in 2014 to 5.1 percent from a 6.7 percent growth rate in 2013.

And while Calabarzon’s growth rate bounced back slightly to 5.8 percent in 2015, it had performed “moderately” in terms of economic growth, posting a 4.8 percent growth in its Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) last year.

Philippine Statistics Authority Region IV-A Director Charito Armonia attributed the deceleration of growth in Calabarzon to slower growth in the industry sector particularly manufacturing and construction.

Luis Banua, NEDA IV-A (Calabarzon) regional director, said that the slower growth in manufacturing, construction, and mining and quarrying (MAQ) sub-sectors of the industry was due to the local national and elections in 2016 when government projects on high infrastructure and enforcement of environmental laws were temporarily suspended.

”Even though the growth of manufacturing sub-sector has decelerated by 1.9 percent from 5.5 percent in 2015 to 3.6 percent in 2016, it has a large impact on the region’s overall GRDP because it has a share to the total regional economy of 53.2 percent and that’s more than one-half,” Banua assessed citing the industry has actually contracted compared with the region’s 62 percent share in 2015.

For Calabarzon to continue with its strong economic performance, necessary infrastructures must be put in place to keep the economic wheels going.

Fortunately, the Duterte administration has set its sights on massive infrastructure spending in the region as part of its P3.6-trillion “BuildBuildBuild” program.

Part of the many projects slated for the Calabarzon region is the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), which was formally started in a groundbreaking ceremony last June 19. 

The CALAX Expressway Project, estimated to cost P35.68 billion per DPWH records, has been hailed as one of the largest public-private partnership (PPP) projects forged between the government and the private sector in recent years.

The 44.63-kilometer CALAX project will pass through the towns of Kawit and Silang and the cities of Gen. Trias, Imus, and Dasmariñas in Cavite, and to the cities of Sta. Rosa and Biñan in Laguna. 

The expressway, linking the Cavite-Manila Expressway (CAVITEx) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), is expected to cut travel time between Cavite and Laguna from an hour and 30 minutes down to 45 minutes.



While the original project had been approved by NEDA back in July 2012, the project had stalled in 2014 due to a dispute between Ayala Corporation, which had originally won the bidding, and San Miguel Corporation.

The Aquino administration then decided to rebid the project in May 2015, where MPCALA Holdings, Inc., a Metro Pacific company, won the bidding after submitting a highest bid award of P27.3 million.

With construction now in full swing, both MPCALA and the government expect the CALAX project to be finished before President Duterte’s term ends in 2022.

In the meantime, the project is expected to create an additional 5,000 jobs for the next three years – aside from the added economic opportunities for those who invest, work and live around the Cavite-Laguna corridor.



With a general upswing both in manufacturing and real estate, the Duterte administration’s “BuildBuildBuild” infrastructure program, CALAX among them, could also mean more economic opportunities for CALABARZON.

Colliers International research manager Joey Roi Bondoc, in a Manila Times article, noted that the Duterte economic team’s push for infrastructure projects in Southern Luzon “will further increase demand for industrial space and warehouses and logistics facilities in the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas corridor,” he explained.

This means that the President’s economic team’s thrust to construct infrastructure projects outside of Metro Manila is definitely on the right track, as it would create more demand for industrial lots particularly in the Cavite-Laguna area. “This should translate to higher demand for industrial lots and thus raise land values in the Calabarzon region,” Bondoc said.


Still Thriving

For the moment, Calabarzon remains the second biggest contributor to the national economy with 16.8 percent, next to the National Capital Region (NCR) 36.6 percent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The region’s real-estate industry is also expected to thrive as forecasts point to a massive shift to “rural-urban fringe areas” among real estate developers.

Enrique Soriano III, Ateneo program director for real estate, said in an Inquirer article last year that “while it is inevitable that inventories will soften in the traditional CBDs in Makati, BGC and Ortigas, the southern corridor will dramatically be the next crown jewel in the next 10 to 20 years.”

Online property dealer Lamudi has also noted that Laguna and Cavite, among others, still rank among the top choices for home finders due to their proximity to Metro Manila. 

“For instance, the cities of Bacoor and Dasmariñas in Cavite, San Pedro and Santa Rosa in Laguna, and Taytay, Cainta and Antipolo in Rizal are home to numerous residential subdivisions that offer houses from as low as P1 million in Cainta to as high as P35 million at Ayala Southvale in Bacoor,”Lamudi said in its 2016 forecast.



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