With a total investment requirement of PhP294.73 billion to be implemented in three years, the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC), during its virtual meeting on June 24, confirmed the adoption of the Bicol Regional Recovery Program (RRP) for COVID-19 (Phase I-Post Enhanced Community Quarantine), that will provide the short-term interventions to cushion the impacts of the health crisis, restore the Bicol economy from recessionary shocks due to domestic and global lockdowns, and jumpstart the economy while containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The draft RRP was previously endorsed to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) by the Committee on Rehabilitation and Recovery of the RDRRMC during its meeting on May 27. The RDC Executive Committee approved the RRP last June 11.
The RRP emanated from the consultations and collaborative efforts with the different agencies, local government units, private sector, and the state universities and colleges (SUCs).
The RRP provides an overview of the government interventions and tackles on the initial assessment of COVID-19 impacts in the region including the emerging issues and challenges to tailor the desired actions of the government to hasten the socio-economic recovery. Short term strategies to aid the fight against the pandemic, and policy recommendations and programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) that will operationalize the strategies were provided in the report.
Immediate socioeconomic development responses to address the pandemic in the RRP include improving public health capacity, and delivery of basic health and nutrition services, shifting to flexible learning options, providing social amelioration, and providing support to food production and supply value chain, fisheries, industry and services sectors. Support interventions will also be provided by accelerating infrastructure development, particularly the public transportation system and ICT. The RRP also emphasizes the need for the proper management of hazardous and toxic wastes and promoting public service delivery. The proposed interventions, in terms of PAPs, will be undertaken by 40 agencies and SUCs in support to the strategies. The Transportation and other Infrastructure amounting to PhP182.96 billion is the largest sectoral share.
“This will be a very crucial year for us. As we all know, because of the pandemic, we have to realign, readjust, and we have to be patient. This may not end very soon so we really have to prepare. So I encourage all national agencies and other stakeholders that we have to make some adjustments, especially in terms of economic, infrastructure, social, and development administration concerns”, RDC Chairperson Mayor Noel E. Rosal said in his message.
Meanwhile, the preparation for RRP Phase II on the Recovery to Resiliency stages will commence by early 2021. The Phase II will employ long-term recovery efforts and development strategies from the gains and lessons obtained from the pandemic, while progressively shifting to the new normal. The success and gains under Phase I shall be the keystone for the resiliency phase that will commence in 2021.