NEDA Bicol launches regional recovery program for COVID-19

LEGAZPI CITY — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region 5 introduces the Bicol Regional Recovery Program (RRP) to address the adverse impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the regional economy.

“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,” Edna Cynthia Berces, NEDA Bicol assistant regional director, said.

She added 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 affirmed.

Moreover, she stated 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 emphasized 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 were made for the new normal. The plan preparation for Phase 2 will be undertaken early next year,” she said.

She added 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. By Casandra E. Balala