BACOLOD

RDC approves Western Visayas Covid recovery plan

THE Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas has approved the Regional Recovery Plan (RRP) for coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda)-Western Visayas Director Ro-Ann Bacal, also the vice chair for rehabilitation and recovery of RDC, in her presentation during the council's second quarter online meeting recently, emphasized the need for a recovery plan amid the continuing challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Bacal said as the region's comeback plan, the RRP will provide a blueprint to bounce back and sustain regional economic growth as Western Visayas gradually transitions from responding to the Covid-19 pandemic to recovery under the "new normal" conditions.

She pointed out that the team that consolidated the plan was guided by the "We Recover as One" technical paper prepared by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning and is anchored on the guidelines and task force's issuances on the "new normal."

"The RRP identifies the strategies that need to be pursued to put in place new norms and sets of protocols in all sectors of society," Bacal said, adding that it also calls for a cautious opening of the region's economy and redesigning of programs and projects while consciously aware of the risks in daily activities and transactions.

Neda-Western Visayas, in a statement, said to capture the aspirations of the people, a series of multi-level and multi-sector focus group discussions were conducted among stakeholders from local government units, regional line agencies (RLAs), academe and private sector.

The formulation of the plan started with the generation of inputs from the RLAs, local government units (LGUs), and state universities and colleges (SUCs).

The agency recalled that a video conference was also conducted in April to level off the process and to set timetable for data requirements.

After which, the RRP was drafted to include the thematic or sectors [health, economic and livelihood activity, social services, infrastructure and transport, governance and environment] assessment on the impact of the pandemic, setting of targets, strategies and policy agenda including the investment requirements.

The initial plan was submitted to Neda Central Office on May 15 and one-on-one consultation with the RLAs, SUCs and LGUs was conducted from May 18 to 22 to review the draft plan.

Then, also in May, vetting of programs, projects and activities (PPAs) with focal persons of RLAs, SUCs and LGUs were undertaken in the process of consolidating the investment requirements of the RRP.

The inputs generated in these consultations were taken into consideration in the refinement of the RRP.

The RRP was guided by the framework, defining the long-term societal goal, the medium-term goal and the thematic outcomes.

Neda-Western Visayas said the RRP's long term societal goal is to have "safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient Filipino communities that are protected from risks and can cope with and recover quickly from unfortunate events."

This is consistent with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and the Filipinos' long-term vision articulated in Ambisyon Natin 2040.

Toward this end, Western Visayas is envisioned to be more resilient in responding to public emergencies, it said.

Included in the RRP is the investment requirement to be implemented by the various RLAs and LGUs in CY 2020 to 2023 in support of the rehabilitation and recovery efforts of the region.

The agency said an estimated P380 billion is needed to finance the proposed projects for the region's recovery.

These are broken down per thematic area or sector such as economic, at P253.286 billion (66.63 percent); social services - P83.638 billion (22.01 percent); governance, P37.144 billion (9.77 percent); environment, P3.839 billion (1.01 percent); and infrastructure and transportation - P2.210 billion (0.59 percent).

The RDC-Western Visayas will coordinate the implementation of the RRP through its sector and special committees and collaborate with the private sector and non-government organizations to expand its implementation, it added.

Moreover, the Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) of the RDC will regularly monitor the PPAs identified in the Plan.

Database for tracking the progress of the RRP will be established and if

necessary, webinars will be conducted to enhance skills and disseminate new knowledge to regional and local partners.

The continuous efforts and full support of all stakeholders in implementing the Plan will help mitigate the losses brought about by the pandemic, which will contribute to the attainment of the long term vision of the Ambisyon Natin 2040, the agency also said.


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