Towards Improving Connectivity Between the Bicol and Calabarzon Regions

On April 15 to 16, 2019, the Bicol and Calabarzon Regional Project Monitoring Committees (RPMC) conducted joint inspection of two projects that will improve the connectivity between the southernmost regions of Luzon: the Philippine National Railway (PNR) South Long Haul (SLH) Project and the Quezon-Bicol Expressway Project (QuBEx). The purpose of the activity was to inspect the existing facilities of the two projects, and orient the two RPMCs on the details and the proposed alignment of the projects.

The PNR presented the alignment and station options for the SLH project and the railroad crossings that will be covered. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) presented the QuBEx project, its alignment options, and the proposed implementation schedule including the status of the Toll Road 4 (TR4) Project (SLEX Extension Project), which will connect to the QuBEx.

The feasibility study of the PNR SLH project was approved in 2017 and the detailed engineering design is currently being prepared. Once finished, the project will provide railway transport from Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon. The PNR further ensures that the project will cut travel time to six hours from Manila to Legazpi City at a design speed of 160 km/hour.

On one hand, the QuBEx is a 220-kilometer expressway that will start at Pagbilao, Quezon and will end at the Asian Highway 26 in San Fernando, Camarines Sur. The expressway will provide a fast and developed alternative route, and will result to approximately two hour-savings in travel time. The end of QuBEx in San Fernando will connect to the ongoing Camarines Sur Expressway project.

The activity paved way to recommend some actions that should be considered prior to construction of the two projects. Among the recommendations to PNR for the SLH project are: (1) to coordinate with DPWH and Toll Regulatory Board to resolve conflict in the alignment of roads and railway tracks, and facilitate intermodal transport; and (2) to prepare an action plan for the abandoned PNR right-of-way that will not be utilized.

On QuBEx, the DPWH shall simultaneously seek endorsements from the Bicol and Calabarzon Regional Development Councils and Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) approval of the project. The preparation of ICC forms and requirements for this project is ongoing.


The Bicol and Calabarzon RPMC with representatives from DPWH during the ocular inspection of the proposed site of the Unisan Interchange of QuBEx Project in Unisan, Quezon.
(Source: NEDA Calabarzon Facebook)


Ms. Ester Barria of NEDA Region 5 during the coordination meeting/project briefing of the PNR South Long Haul and QuBex projects.


Ocular inspection of the proposed Calamba train station of the PNR South Long Haul Project.(Source: NEDA Calabarzon Facebook)


Ocular inspection of the proposed site of Tayabas Interchange of the QuBEx Project in Tayabas, Quezon. (Source: NEDA Calabarzon Facebook)



Bicolano Stakeholders Call for Harmonization of Planning Process at the Local Level

Members of the Regional Land Use Committee, provincial and city planning officers, academe and private sectors converged on April 12, 2019 at the RDC Hall, NEDA Region 5 to discuss the proposed National Land Use Act (NaLUA) of the Philippines which seeks to institutionalize a national land use policy intended to end the degradation of the country’s land resources and optimize sustainable development. The activity aimed to (a) generate comments and issues on the proposed NaLUA, and (b) solicit recommendations on how to address these issues.

Among the issues that were identified is the complicated and disconnected planning process that is being adopted in the local level. Guidelines for the preparation of Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan, Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), and Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) emanates from three agencies, and the CLUP and CDP seem to be repetitive in the sense that contents are similar. Planning period must also be clarified. With these, the harmonization of all the planning processes from the national to local level particularly the preparation of the various plans was proposed to be taken into consideration.

To ensure that land use concerns are addressed, other recommendations were identified which include: (a) creation of a technical committee, with composition based on EO 72 series of 1993, under the provincial development council that will review the land use plans, (b) creation of a local planning core group headed by the city planning and development office/municipal planning and development office (CPDO/MPDO) with members from different offices of the local government units, instead of CPDO/MPDO alone, to prepare and update the CLUPs, and (c) provide sanctions to LGUs which do not comply to the policies.


Engr. Gilberto Abion of NEDA Region 5 presents the salient features of NaLUA.


Breakout sessions generating comments, issues and recommendations.

Generated inputs from the consultations conducted by different regions will be integrated and presented during the 11th National Land Use Committee meeting.



Bicol region conducts the first joint Bicol CMD-RGADC-RSC meeting

With the purpose of identifying gender concerns on migration, and migration and development statistics for policy planning and research, the Committee on Migration and Development (CMD), Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) and Regional Statistics Committee (RSC) conducted a joint meeting for the first time on March 18, 2019 at the RDC Hall, NEDA Region 5, Legazpi City.


L-R: Dir. Arnel B. Garcia of DSWD Region 5, Dir. Agnes E. Tolentino of NEDA Region 5, Ms. Cecille Briones and Mr. Nazer Tuazon of PSA RSSO 5, and Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro of Tabaco City

Dir. Agnes E. Tolentino of the NEDA Region 5, chairperson of the RGADC and RSC and the vice chairperson of the CMD, presided over the meeting. The common denominator for the meeting is on migration concerns specifically on developing sex-disaggregated database/statistics on migration up to city and municipality level.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) provided an overview on the conduct of the 2018 National Migration Survey, the first survey on migration in the country with nationwide coverage. It was emphasized that the survey results will be released in May 2019 with regional disaggregation based on the samples taken from the region. The City of Legazpi discussed the statistical and gender-related concerns of migrants and proposed that all local government units update their records of OFWs in their respective areas to help them facilitate the delivery of services especially during emergencies or crises. The Department of Education reported the sex-disaggregated profile of learners who are children of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). To incorporate migration concerns in the workplan of the RGADC, the representative from the Philippine Commission on Women provided updates on the workplan for 2019. It includes the Regional Gender and Development Focal Point System Assembly to be conducted in May 2019 where migrant-serving agencies are expected to participate.

The members of the three committees resolved to request the PSA to provide provincial and sex disaggregation of the results of the 2018 National Migration Survey, and to adopt the migrant’s registration form of Legazpi City in profiling migrant Bicolanos.

Mayor Krisel-Lagman Luistro of Tabaco City underscored the importance of disaggregated data, “Disaggregation of data down to local level will help LGUs in coming up with responsive policies, plans and programs.”


Members of the CMD, RGADC, and RSC during the joint meeting




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