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Pandemic Brings 8.4% Economic Contraction to Bicol in 2020

RD Agnes E. Tolentino, NEDA Director and Chairperson of the Regional Statistics Committee, presented the economic performance of the Bicol Region during the nationwide simultaneous press conference conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority last April 29, 2021. The Bicol Region recorded economic contraction by 8.4 percent from a positive growth of 8.2 percent in 2019.

In 2018 and 2019, the Bicol Region’s economy was the fastest growing economy in the country. However, in 2020, it contracted by 8.4 percent from a positive growth of 8.2 percent in 2019. This is below the annual target range of 6.7 percent to 7.7 percent growth as set under the Updated Bicol Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017 to 2022. These resulted in a significant decrease in GRDP value by about PHP47.48 billion, from PHP564.94 billion in 2019 to PHP517.46 billion.

The Bicol Region has been challenged to improve the economy on three fronts, namely: (1) imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic that started in March 2020; (2) series of tropical cyclones (TCs) Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses (QRU) that ravaged the Bicol Region in the last quarter of the year, and (3) the African Swine Fever (ASF) which affected some parts of the region. These significantly affected the region’s economy and development prospects.

To address these challenges, Bicol adopted the (a) Regional Recovery Program (RRP) for COVID-19 Phase I Post-ECQ to carry out immediate socioeconomic development responses and support interventions; (b) Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (RRP) for TCs QRU to restore socio-economic conditions in disaster-affected areas; and (c) measures to contain the spread of the ASF virus.

All the three major production sectors recorded negative growth rates. The AFF sector contracted by 1.3 percent from a positive growth of 4.7 percent in 2019 due to challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, weather disturbances, and pest infestations. The industry sector also contracted by 13.6 percent from a positive growth of 7.9 percent in 2019 which was attributed to contraction in the mining and quarrying, and construction subsectors. The services sector also contracted by 6.9 percent from a positive growth of 9.8 percent in 2019 which was attributed to contraction in the transportation and storage, other services, and accommodation and food service activities subsectors.

In her statement, Director Tolentino affirmed that, “a gradual and safe reopening of the economy will be imposed to better manage the risks. Bicol will continue to (1) carry out the RRP for COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency stages, Action Plans of the Task Groups of the Recovery Cluster under the National Action Plan for COVID-19 Phase III, and Bicol RRP for TCs QRU; (2) implement timely roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines; (3) fully implement the Bayanihan 2 Fund; (4) complete big-ticket infrastructure projects; (5) increase operational capacity and promote competitiveness in the services sector; and (6) promote seamless social service delivery through the Philippine Identification System”.

The NEDA Secretary, she said, opined “that the COVID-19 would stay with us for some time. What is important here is that we can already have our interventions for our health sector, continue with the vaccination, ensure the cooperation of everyone regarding the health protocols, keep everybody safe, and continue the investments even for the expenditures coming from the government side. If that will be maintained or even enhanced, we can still fight the pandemic.”

In closing, Director Tolentino expressed high hopes that with the support and commitment from everyone, Bicol will be able to rebound its economy to pre-pandemic level by 2022. She said that, “it is a must to remain committed towards attaining every Filipino and every Bicolano’s vision of a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat”.

Indeed, tuloy ang aksyon para sa Ambisyon.

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RD Agnes E. Tolentino of NEDA Region 5 presents the statement on the 2020 economic performance of the region on April 29, 2021

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RD Cynthia L. Perdiz of PSA Region 5 presents the data on the 2020 economic performance of the region on April 29, 2021

MaryAnnMontecastro/NEDA5


Bicol pledges for a healthy and resilient Philippines towards a matatag, maginhawa at panatag ng buhay para sa lahat

“Time is of the essence. We should keep in mind that AmBisyon Natin 2040 is multi-dimensional. We need to pursue policies, programs, and projects that will enable and empower every Filipino, every Bicolano and Bicolana to enjoy a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay”, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said during a series of virtual caravans in the Bicol Region.

“The updated Philippine and Bicol Regional Development Plans (P/RDPs) provide a whole-of-society approach for a healthy and resilient Philippines and for getting the country back on track towards achieving Ambisyon Natin 2040”, she added.

Considering the limited mobility due to the pandemic, the NEDA Region 5, in collaboration with the Bicol Regional Development Council, conducted a series of virtual caravans on the updated P/RDPs 2017 to 2022 on April 13 and 15, 2021 via Zoom Videoconference and Facebook Live. Bicol Region’s series of virtual caravans conducted it in four sessions for the different stakeholders to allow the participants to have uninhibited expression of their views.

A total of 365 participants from the business sector; civil society organizations; members of the media; youth; students; academe; marginalized groups namely: persons with disability, indigenous people, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program parent-leaders, overseas Filipino workers, repatriates, and women sector; national government agencies; and local government units (LGUs) joined in the Zoom Videoconference, while 265 joined in Facebook Live.

For each session, a panel of reactors shared their thoughts on how the updated P/RDP 2017 to 2022 will be implemented and cascaded to the Filipino people taking into account both medium-term needs and their long-term aspirations. One panelist suggested that non-government organizations, civil society organizations, and the private sector should participate in a multi-stakeholder approach to provide alternative livelihood and incomes for the people to ensure safety and security in homes and communities. Mr. Wilfredo Prilles, the Naga City Planning and Development Coordinator said, “The challenge brought by the COVID-19 pandemic may be responded through alignment of LGU projects to the priorities of the updated PDP and RDP. That efforts are being done at the LGU level to meet the requirements needed for local projects to be included in the Regional Development Investment Program”.

The series of virtual caravans provided a platform for discourse and engagement among all stakeholders on the actions towards the attainment of the AmBisyon Natin 2040 given the once-in-a-century global pandemic, which has yielded undesirable social and economic outcomes.

The far-reaching representation of all stakeholders and the comprehensive presentation on the updated P/RDP 2017 to 2022 raised the spirits of the participants to pledge and pursue development towards a healthy and resilient Philippines. Everyone committed to take part in crafting and implementing measures that address the health crisis while steering the country towards social and economic recovery.

Ms. Rosemarie Rey, the President of Albay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pledges on the commitment wall, “to contribute to the realization of the Ambisyon Nation 2040 thru the Bicol Regional Development Plan 2017 to 2022”.

As what the Bicol RDC Chairperson Mayor Noel E. Rosal said in his opening statement, “Life must go on for all of us. We have to be more innovative; we have to be more focused so that our programs and projects will be adaptable to the present time. This is not just about this generation, but of the generations to come.”

Indeed, for the Bicolanos, tuloy ang aksyon para sa Ambisyon.

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Tuloy ang Aksyon para sa Ambisyon. NEDA Usec. Rosemarie G. Edillon presents the highlights of the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017 to 2022 during the series of virtual caravans on the updated PDP and Bicol Regional Development Plan 2017 to 2022 held on April 13 and 15, 2021 via Zoom videoconference and Facebook Live.

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A Pledge for a Healthy and Resilient Philippines. The participants pledge to commit to participate in the whole-of-society approach to achieve the goals of the updated Philippine and Bicol Regional Development Plans (P/RDPs) 2017 to 2022 during the series of virtual caravans on the updated P/RDPs 2017 to 2022 held on April 13 and 15, 2021 via Zoom videoconference and Facebook Live.

AnnaLizBellenEnaje/NEDA5


RDC Bicol aims for better resource allocation in 2022

Regional priorities in Bicol were highlighted during the Regional Development Council (RDC) 5 Technical Budget Review on January 20 to 22, 2021 via videoconference as the region prepares for the budget preparation for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The budget review aims to evaluate the budget proposals of the agency regional offices (AROs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) in alignment with the Philippine Development Plan 2017 to 2022, Regional Development Plan 2017 to 2022 and Sustainable Development Goals to ensure better resource allocation.

In her opening message, NEDA Regional Director and RDC Vice Chairperson Agnes E. Tolentino emphasized the regional priorities such as the Regional Core Projects, Peace and Development Program, Regional Recovery Program for COVID-19, and Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program to be included in the FY 2022 budget proposals. FY 2022 marks the start of the implementation of Mandanas-Garcia Supreme Court ruling to strengthen synergy among national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) through devolution of functions and resources. She said that, “Based on the National Budget Memorandum (NBM) No. 138 or the National Budget Call for FY 2022, the NGAs will focus on policy and standards development of service delivery, provision of technical assistance, monitoring and performance assistance of LGUs.”

The implication of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling was reiterated by Director Renato M. De Vera of DBM Region 5 when he presented the salient features of the NBM 138. He said that, “with SC ruling on Mandanas-Garcia petitions, LGUs will be receiving substantial increase in Internal Revenue Allotment (or National Tax Allotment) beginning FY 2022. The LGUs are expected to be responsible for funding and delivery of activities which have been devolved to them under the Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code.” Continued adoption of the administrative reforms for greater budget transparency and reliability was also discussed.

The FY 2022 budget proposals of 33 AROs and nine SUCs were deliberated on by a panel of reactors composed of stakeholders in regional development, namely: RDC private sector representatives; and representatives from key agencies, provinces and cities, and members of the House of Representatives.

The budget review is an annual activity of the RDC in pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order No. 325, Series of 1996, to review and endorse the annual budget proposals of the AROs, SUCs, government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and other special development bodies. It was the first online technical budget review and was well attended as most heads of agencies and presidents of SUCs presented their budget proposals.

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ArmylenePosada/NEDA5


RDC Bicol brings Christmas Cheers to typhoon victims

The parade of typhoons that hit the region in October and November has brought massive destruction to life and properties that affected the livelihood of many of the Bicolanos. Various local government units, civic organizations, and private individuals have called for donations for the victims of Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses.

In response, the Bicol Regional Development Council (Bicol RDC) initiated a relief operation in Barangay San Juan, Tabaco City on December 23. The activity was led by NEDA Regional Director and Bicol RDC Vice Chairperson, Agnes E. Tolentino. The relief effort held at the Barangay Hall began with a short message from Director Tolentino that briefly introduced the NEDA and the RDC to the beneficiaries. “Ining diit na tabang na itatao mi sa saindo hale sa mga miembro kan Regional Development Council, sarong organization na kompuesto kan mga pamayo kan mga regional line agencies, mga governors, city and capital town mayors, private sector representatives asin mga presidents kan league of mayors. Sinda ang namamahala kan pagibo kan mga polisiya sa pag papauswag kan satuyang rehiyon” she said.
(This modest assistance that we will share came from the members of the Regional Development Council, an organization composed of the heads of regional line agencies, governors, city and capital town mayors, private sector representatives, and presidents of the league of mayors. The RDC is a body that sets policies and directions towards regional development.)

A total of eighty-one households whose houses were either totally or partially damaged benefited from the noche buena package. The relief distribution was made in batches to ensure that social distancing and health protocols were properly observed.

Barangay Kagawad Eva Bongon commended and thanked the RDC for its effort in spite of the pandemic being faced by the nation. “Dakula pong pasalamat kan Barangay San Juan sa RDC sa pagpili sa samong lugar na maging recipiente kan saindong relief operations. Dakula pong tabang ini para sa samong mga residentes lalo na ta iyo pa sana ini ang tabang na samuyang nareresibe matapos ang mga bagyo na nag agi kan Nobyembre” she said. (The people of Barangay San Juan would like to thank the RDC for choosing us as the recipients of their relief operation. This is a great help to our residents especially that this is the first time that aide has reached our barangay after the typhoons last November.)

The RDC’s relief operation was coordinated with the Office of the Tabaco City Mayor, Hon. Cielo Krisel L. Luistro of Tabaco City.

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Ma.TheresaAnonuevo/NEDA5

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