The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has launched the Bicol Regional Recovery Program (RRP) to address the adverse impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in the region’s economy.
NEDA Bicol assistant regional director Edna Cynthia S. Berces, during the PIA-5 “Ugnayan sa Bicol” radio program said “We adopted a phased planning approach for the Bicol RRP due to the overlap between the response and recovery phase. Under the phased approach, the RRP aims to provide specific recommended actions in three key areas.”
She said that these include the strengthening of “health sector and its capacities” and the restoration of socio-economic activities; increase the resiliency and capacities of the communities in coping with similar health hazard events; and create a stable and resilient Bicol economy.
“Right now we are still at the response phase or the Phase 1, which is the post enhanced community quarantine phase. This will provide the short-term interventions to cushion the impacts of Covid-19,” Berces said.
She added that the Phase 1 targets to restore the Bicol economy from recessionary shocks due to domestic and global lockdowns. This phase will cover the period from May to December 2020.
“It can extend beyond 2020 wherein some businesses are allowed to open and everyone lives under the new normal conditions,” she said.
Meanwhile, Berces stressed that the Phase 2 will allow transition from recovery to resiliency phase. It will provide the medium to long-term intervention to strengthen the socio-economic activities in the medium term and increase resiliency in the long term.
“This will make the Bicol economy stay afloat, thriving and robust because of the improved infrastructures and structural reforms that are made for the new normal. The plan preparation for Phase 2 will be undertaken early next year,” she said.
Berces said that the key features of Bicol RRP for Covid-19 also include the support to affected key sectors and vulnerable groups such as the poor and marginalized, farmers and fisher folks, Overseas Filipino Workers as well as the micro, small and medium enterprises.
It also seeks to fast track the implementation of suspended infrastructure projects and the need for the proper management of hazardous and toxic wastes.
Berces said that Phase 1 of Bicol RRP for COVID-19 will require a total investment of P294.73 billion to be implemented in three years.
“Phase 1 projects will be funded by the national government under the General Appropriations Act (GAA). In fact, almost all of the projects for next year were included by the various agencies in their reprioritized Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposals,” she said.
She further said that a total of P81.50 billion for 2020 is needed to implement the program; P155.17 billion in 2021; and P58.06 billion in 2022.
“There is an overlap in the implementation of Phase 1 until year 2022, which is also a period for Phase 2. This overlap is the transition period from response to recovery phase,” she explained.
On the other hand, Berces stated that the budget for Phase 2 will explore a combination of the GAA, official development assistance, corporate funds of government-owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions, and local funds of the local government units.
Berces also said that the Bicol RRP for COVID-19 has undergone consultation process with various sectors. (PIA5/CEB/NEDA Bicol)