The CALABARZON Regional Development Council (RDC) endorsed its Regional Recovery Program (RRP) for COVID-19 during its 2nd Quarter Full Council Meeting on June 11, 2020. The RRP contains the strategies, programs, projects, and activities (PAPs) to mitigate the losses brought about by the pandemic and the enhanced community quarantine, as well as to adapt to the “new normal” of economic activities that is more prepared and resilient to public health emergencies.

NEDA Director Luis G. Banua presented the CALABARZON RRP which was prepared by the Committee on Recovery and Rehabilitation of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Council which NEDA chairs. Based on the identified PAPs by regional line agencies (RLAs) and local government units (LGUs) as of June 5, 2020, the RRP has an investment requirement of PHP53.61 billion, with the biggest amount identified for the social sector.

Among the big ticket projects under the social sector include: a) continuous provision of emergency subsidy for informal workers in low-income families; b) provision of personal protective equipment; c) school-based feeding program – post COVID; d) continued implementation of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and Balik Probinsya thru (AICS) – Transportation Category; and e) construction/rehabilitation of hospitals and isolation rooms. The RRP will be endorsed to the National DRRM Council for funding from the national DRRM fund and for inclusion in agency budgets from FY 2020 to 2022.

Given the need to fund projects in the RRP, the RDC also endorsed the reprioritized FY 2021 Tier 2 budget proposals of 16 regional line agencies and 3 state universities and colleges to the DBM Central Office and the respective Central Offices of the RLAs.

On the RDC’s role in implementing programs and projects in the Region, Chairperson Governor Hermilando I. Mandanas said that the RDC as mandated by the Constitution should set the directions to improve regional development, and to promote good governance and local autonomy.

The Council also approved the creation of the Special Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-Asa (BP2) Committee under the RDC. Executive Order No. 114 institutionalized the BP2 Program which aims to ensure balanced regional development and promote full employment, industrialization and improved quality of life in rural areas. At the regional level, the RDC Special BP2 Committee will be chaired by the concerned Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security and vice-chaired by the NEDA Regional Director. The RDC Special BP2 Committee will coordinate the program’s projects and activities in the region, create an action plan, identify projects, and prepare and implement a communication and advocacy plan to get the support of stakeholders and LGUs.

The first virtual CALABARZON RDC Full Council meeting was well attended with 66 members from LGUs, RLAs, SUCs, and private sector representatives

Francess Louise P. Lopez, NEDA Region IV-A| June 17, 2020