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   Director Agnes M. Espinas of NEDA Region 5 presented the Bicol RDP 2017-2022 during the Legazpi City Stakeholders’ Forum on May 16 at Legazpi City Hall.  The activity is part of the official launching of the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines in partnership with the City Government of Legazpi. 

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   The SURGE project is the flagship project under the Cities Development Initiative (CDI) that provides assistance to secondary cities outside Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao to achieve inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and resilient economic growth.  It focuses on four key areas: (a) strengthening local capacity in urban development including the promotion of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to ensure access to sustainable water supply and sanitary services; (b) promoting low greenhouse gas emission local economic development strategies with streamlined administrative and regulatory procedures and improved infrastructure and transport systems; (c) expanding economic connectivity and access between urban and rural areas; and (d) strengthening multisectoral capacity to provide health and other basic services to ensure social inclusion. 

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   Gross regional domestic product or GRDP measures gross value added of all resident producer units in the region. It includes regional estimates on the three major sectors including their subsectors, namely: Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF); Industry sector (mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, electricity and water); and Services sector (transport, communication and storage, trade, finance, real estate, private and government services).

   The regional economy of Bicol continued to grow in the last three years: 4.3 percent in 2014, 8.9 percent in 2015 and 5.7 percent in 2016.  In 2016, the GRDP amounted to P164.37 billion. The decline in growth between 2015 and 2016 does not translate to a decreased GRDP, rather, the economy expanded albeit at a  slower pace.

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   The Services and Industry sectors continue to be the region’s economy booster, sharing 56.7 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively, of the GRDP. On one hand, AHFF contributes 20 percent. The Services sector was the biggest contributor to the economic performance in 2016, contributing 3.9 percentage points of the 5.7 percent growth, followed by Industry (1.9 percentage points) and AHFF (-0.1 percentage points).

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   The Regional Development Council (RDC) 5, spearheaded by the Committee on Advocacy (ComAd), launches its online advocacy campaigns for the Bicol Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2022 and Ambisyon Natin 2040 on May 10 (Wednesday). The online advocacy campaign includes two major activities: (1) creative crowdsourcing competition and (2) online quiz.

   The crowdsourcing competition is open to participants 12 to 18 years old and 19 years old and above, for the student and general public category, respectively. Interested participants may choose among the five events namely: (1) logo making, (2) feature writing, (3) poster making, (4) jingle making, and (5) audio-visual presentation production. Submission of entries is until May 30 (Tuesday).

   Another event is the online quiz which will run from June 19 to 23 and has three categories: (a) junior high category for ages 13-16 years old, (2) senior high category for ages 17-18 years old, and (3) adult category for ages 19 and above. The link to the questionnaire shall be provided a day before the event schedule.

   The mechanics of the activities can be accessed through NEDA Region 5 website at nro5.neda.gov.ph or Facebook account at NEDARegionalOffice5. For references, the Ambisyon Natin 2040 materials can be accessed at 2040.neda.gov.ph and a copy of the pre-publication issue of the Bicol RDP 2017-2022 shall be provided to the participants via email.

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   The NEDA Regional Office (NRO) 5 extended technical assistance as resource persons in three separate trainings on planning and project development of the regional offices of the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

   The first training was spearheaded by DOT Region 5 on “Tourism Strategic Assessment and Planning, and Project Development Workshop” on March 7 to 9 in Legazpi City. The activity aimed to enhance the capacity of 40 staff from the local tourism offices of Mercedes, Talisay and Labo in Camarines Norte; Pandan in Catanduanes; and Daraga in Albay in preparing local tourism plan, investment programs, and project proposals.   The output was a framework for the local tourism plan for each municipality and project proposals.

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