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RDC approves the Bicol Regional Development Plan 2017-2022

   On March 3, the Regional Development Council (RDC) approved the Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017 – 2022 which will serve as the region’s guide in formulating policies and implementing development programs and projects for the next six years.  It is the first medium-term plan anchored on the Long Term Vision – the AmBisyon Natin 2040 that was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte on on October 11, 2016, through EO No. 5, series of 2016, as guide for development planning.

   The Bicol RDP is linked to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) as it aspires to contribute to the attainment of the PDP’s goal of laying the solid foundation for more inclusive growth, a high trust and resilient society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy.   The strategies of the Plan are focused on three pillars toward enhancing the social fabric; reducing inequality; and increasing growth potential.  These shall be attained by increasing GRDP growth rate by 11.2 percent in 2022 from 8.4 percent in 2015; reducing poverty incidence among population to 26 percent from 36 percent in 2015; and reducing underemployment rate to less than 20 percent in October 2022 from 30.1 percent in October 2016.  To meet these targets, the completion of major infrastructure projects that will enhance connectivity of the region to the rest of Luzon and to the Visayas and Mindanao and support the region’s agriculture and fishery sector, micro small and medium enterprises, and tourism industry are among the region’s priorities. These priorities are the Quezon-Bicol Expressway project (QueBEx) that includes Naga-Legazpi Freeway Project; Libmanan Freeway Project Quirino/Andaya Freeway  Project; Camarines Sur-Albay Diversion Road Project (San Fernando to Oas); Matnog-Samar Seamless Corridor Project (Sorsogon-Samar Island Suspension Bridge Project); the North-South Railway Project; Matnog Railway Extension Project (Camalig to Matnog); Pasacao and Masbate port improvement projects; Legazpi and Tabaco Ports upgrading to international standards; the New Naga Airport Project; and the Bicol International Airport.

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   The projects that will support the agriculture and fishery sectors are the implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Program; Inclusive Partnership for Agricultural Competitiveness; irrigation development program; farm to market roads; farm mechanization; production of abaca planting materials; Bicol innovation research and technology hub; agricultural and fishery support program; coastal and inland fishery resource rehabilitation; and capability programs for farmers and fishermen.  To sustain the growth of the region’s tourism industry, more tourism products and destinations shall be opened through the construction of access roads under the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program; tourism services and products shall be enhanced through tourism industry skills program; poverty reduction through infrastructure investments, MSMEs and eco-agri-tourism development convergence program; sustainable tourism through environmental protection and climate change adaptation program; and risk and crisis management program.

MT Chong – PFPD NEDA 5