NEDA Regional Director presents the Bicol Regional Development Plan (RDP) at the USAID – Cities Development Initiative Forum

   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. 


   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. 

   The entry of Legazpi City in the CDI Program of the USAID is an opportunity that should be maximized for the city to be able to play its vital role in the socio-economic development of Bicol region.  The City serves as a center for trade and commerce, education and health services, banking and finance, real estate and related services, and as a tourism hub and major port of entry with its airport, seaport, railway facilities and road network. 

   The partnership between the USAID, represented by Dr. Susan Brems and the City Government of Legazpi, represented by Mayor Noel E. Rosal, was formalized through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding that was witnessed by Governor Al Francis Bichara, Albay Governor and RDC chairperson, and Director Agnes Espinas together with the local officials of the City and the heads of regional line agencies.