BACOLOD

Negros Occidental economic loss 'may total P1.57B' due to Covid-19

BACOLOD. Former 3rd District representative and now Capitol consultant Alfredo Benitez. (Contributed photo)

FORMER Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez revealed Monday, June 29, 2020, that Negros Occidental economic loss may reach P1.57 billion due to Covid-19.

Benitez, who is currently the provincial consultant for economic affairs, also revealed during the meeting on the province's road to a recovery plan that around 976,000 workers in the informal economy are highly affected during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Around 83,000 overseas Filipino workers from Negros Occidental may be affected, translating to a potential loss of P7 billion in cash remittances.

Benitez also presented in the meeting the realization of the digital revolution program as a road to recovery. Through the program, he said the province will create smart cities, smart systems and smart infrastructure.

"In line with the Digital Revolution, the governor called the department heads so that we will synchronize our moves and it just shows that the province is serious about migrating into technology-based delivery of basic services," he said.

"The meeting today is to align the departments with the vision to create a digital revolution. It starts with the basic infrastructure of connectivity. The program is to bring all LGUs (local government units), all hospitals, schools into a network where they have connectivity with each other. Once the infrastructure of connectivity has been established you will have different programs of e-government, e-learning, telemedicine. We will use technology to deliver basic services," Benitez pointed out.

"But before you do that, you need connectivity. We're doing that as we speak. Infrastructure is being laid. There are private companies that are laying down the fiber optics in different locations. We will do it first in our LGUs, hospitals and we are coordinating with these companies to ensure the connectivity in our far-flung areas," he added.

Benitez said that the province is signing a tripartite memorandum of agreement with the private companies and the Department of Information and Communications Technology to ensure the connectivity infrastructure.

"We're looking at this year for the realization of the project. We're looking to finish the infrastructure by this year", Benitez said.


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