Bicol Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Committee prepares action plan

The Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Committee for Bicol region held its organizational meeting and action planning workshop on July 24, 2020 via videoconference. In a pre-recorded message, Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan, Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Bicol and BP2 Committee Chairperson, lauded the region’s efforts in organizing the BP2 Committee and preparing the Regional Action Plan for the BP2 Program. He emphasized that “The BP2 program is a sustainable whole-of-nation approach focused on promoting the local economy of each region to ensure balanced regional development all over the country, inclusive growth and industrialization in rural areas”. Essentially, the BP2 program is geared towards addressing congestion in Metro Manila by encouraging people to return to their home provinces. Through this program, the government will assist Filipinos in their transition back to the provinces by providing necessary support like transportation, livelihood, housing, education among others.

Undersecretary Marvel C. Clavecilla, the Presidential Adviser for Bicol, addressed the committee and ensured his commitment to provide strategic advice in the implementation of the BP2 program. NEDA Regional Director Agnes E. Tolentino, Vice Chairperson of the BP2 Committee, presided the meeting, which started with a presentation of the Executive Order (EO) No. 114 and the BP2 Implementing Guidelines by Architect Marissa B. Maniquis of the NHA Central Office as the BP2 National Council Secretariat.

The Regional Development Council (RDC) is the counterpart of the BP2 National Council at the regional level. Under the RDC is the BP2 Committee which will coordinate the BP2 activities in the region. It is composed of governors, mayors, the RDC sectoral committee chairpersons and co-chairpersons, and regional line agencies. Recognizing their relevance in carrying out the mandate of the BP2 Committee, the membership of the committee was expanded to include other government agencies and private sector representatives.

The 140 participants composed of representatives from the regional line agencies, local government units, and private sector organizations, and the RDC private sector representatives gathered in five virtual break-out sessions and came up with draft action plans for the BP2 key result area assigned to them, i.e. empowering the local industries, ensuring food security and agricultural productivity, providing social services and employment, and developing infrastructure to improve the quality of life in the rural areas. The BP2 Regional Action Plan will be finalized for endorsement of the committee to the RDC for adoption.


RTF- ELCAC Bicol convenes, pursuit of just and lasting peace continues

The Bicol Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) or RTF Katoninongan Asin Kauswagan (RTF-ELCAC) met on June 29, 2020, to discuss the continuity of activities despite the temporary halt due to CoVid-19. Usec. Marvel C. Clavecilla of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs, presided the meeting via videoconference attended by its members and representatives from the National Security Council.


Some of the RTF Katoninongan Asin Kauswagan Members during its meeting held via Zoom

Sec. Gregorio B. Hosanan, Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Bicol, on his pre-recorded message, congratulated the Bicol RTF ELCAC for its collective and proactive efforts that made the region advanced in bringing peace and development. He challenges the RTF to continue what it has started to meet the target in the Bicol region.

The Peace and Development Program 2019-2022 is the enabling umbrella program of the Bicol RTF Katoninongan Asin Kauswagan to address the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances, and other armed conflicts and threats, for inclusive development. The Peace and Development Program composed of various PAPs of agencies and local government units are mostly intended for the geographic focus areas. The total investment requirement over a period of three (3) years amounted to PhP71.35 billion of which the PAPs amounting to PhP7.85 billion were submitted to the National Task Force ELCAC as inputs to the 2020 Barangay Development Package.

To assist the RTF-ELCAC in carrying its functions as provided under Executive Order No. 70, the RTF TWG was organized with senior technical personnel from 23 agencies, and two private sector representatives (one from the RDC PSR and one from the RPOC PSR) as members.

Meanwhile, Mayor Noel E. Rosal of Legazpi City, and Bicol RDC chairperson emphasized the importance of monitoring the region’s accomplishments in terms of project implementation, and to ensure that the programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) of the RTF are included in the annual budgets of the agencies.

As manifested in the reported accomplishments of the heads of the 12 RTF clusters for the first semester of 2020, the members remain sincere in their commitment to drive the region to its desired target. The active participation and steadfast efforts of the RTF members are vital to address the gaps encountered, and be more zealous to attain a just and lasting peace, in support to national development.


Bicol Braces for the COVID 19 Challenges

A blended mode of meeting for the Bicol Regional Development Council was held last June 24, 2020 while the region is still under a modified general community quarantine. The RDC Chairperson, Mayor Noel Rosal, and a few heads of regional line agencies gathered in a safe distance while most of the members opted to use the online platform to participate in the proceedings.

Chairperson Rosal emphasized the need to help in sustaining efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the region. In line with this, the RDC confirmed the adoption of the Bicol Regional Recovery Program (RRP) for COVID-19 which aims to ensure recovery towards a resilient Bicol economy. The reprioritized FY 2021 agency budget proposals of state universities and colleges and regional line agencies were also endorsed to the Department of Budget and Management, the Congress, and concerned agency central offices. Such action was towards containing the spread and mitigating the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, restarting the economy to create jobs and attract investments, and transitioning to the “new normal” environment post-pandemic.

The need to improve the region’s health system capacity was addressed with the approval of programs, activities, and projects that will be included in the Bicol RRP and in the reprioritized FY 2021 agency budget proposals. The Department of Health (DOH) and the local government units were further enjoined to execute memoranda of understanding for the establishment of additional facilities and isolation areas for COVID-19 patients in public and private hospitals and the improvement of telehealth services. The Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, which serves as the COVID 19 center in the region, informed the RDC of their plans to enhance capacity not only for COVID 19 but also for the other services offered by the hospital. Dr. Kristin Peña of the DOH, presented the ways of communicating and keeping safe under the “new normal” condition. She emphasized on the key components of the “new normal, which include: reducing vulnerability and duration of infection, reducing transmission and contact, and putting in place organizational policies and needed investments.

To further aid the RDC in its planning and decision-making function, the DOST Director Rommel R. Serrano introduced the members to the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler for Early Detection of Diseases or FASSSTER which can generate information for anticipating and planning for the fund and resource requirements coming from the COVD 19 plans and programs.

Chairperson Rosal adjourned the meeting with a stern reminder for everyone to remain safe from COVID 19 pandemic.


RDC Chairperson Mayor Noel E. Rosal presided the meeting with RDC members observing the minimum public health standards at the Kanzo Hall and Restaurant, Legazpi City.


RDC members and guests attending the RDC meeting via Zoom Videoconference.




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