By Connie B. Destura
LEGAZPI CITY, Mar. 18 (PNA) -– Nine programs and projects in the Bicol Region are now in the pipeline after they had been reviewed and endorsed by the Regional Development Council for Bicol (RDC-5) as of December 31, 2013, a yearend report obtained by the PNA on Monday said.
The RDC-5 is chaired by green economist Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, also the co-chair of the South Korea-based Green Climate Fund for developing countries.
The report, prepared by the National Economic Development Authority, which acts as the council’s secretariat, enumerated the proposed projects as: (a) Bottom-Up Budgeting projects; (b) feasibility study for structural measures of the Integrated Naga River Revitalization Project; (c) upgrading of Virac-San Andres Tourism Corridor; (d) development of Pinaculan Treasure Island Resort; (e) Camarines Norte Farm-to-Market Roads; (f) Camarines Norte DOT-DPWH Convergence on Tourism Support Infrastructure Program; (g) 17 bridge projects in the Bicol Region for PPP funding; (h) improvement of Masbate airport; (i) rehabilitation and upgrading of Daet Airport, for feasibility study preparation; and (j) modernization of the Bicol Medical Center.
During the year under review, the RDC Full Council passed a total of 57 resolutions in the quarterly meetings usually held on the first week of last month of each quarter, the NEDA-prepared report said.
In Memorandum Circular No. 43 issued by President Aquino on February 4, 2013, directing the NEDA to coordinate the updating of the Philippine Development Plan and the Regional Development Plan (RDP), the secretariat prepared initial assessment reports of the RDP chapters and identified challenges for the remaining plan period.
It also conducted provincial consultations and regional validation workshops to gather inputs for the RDP updating.
The draft updated plan was presented to the sectoral committees and was approved by the RDC, according to the NEDA, now headed by Luis Banua as acting regional director.
The RDC approved the CY 2013 priority sectoral concerns which are urgent development concerns that need sector action plans to translate the RDP into more focused, integrated, and convergent programs, projects and activities.
The NEDA identified the priority sectoral concerns as: (a) promoting rice sufficiency; (b) promoting rural enterprises; (c) promoting tourism; (d) improving secondary vocational education system; (e) reducing power rate; (f) integration of the transportation system; and (g) promoting the preparation of city and municipal land use plans.
Each sectoral concern has a technical committee to formulate, coordinate, facilitate and monitor the implementation of the sector action plans.
Supportive of the promotion of inclusive growth, the RDC-5 initiated preliminary activities for the conduct of a railway development summit (RDS) to revive, expand and modernize the railway system in Luzon.
Other Luzon RDCs were invited to participate in the summit.
The RDCs of regions 1, 2, 3, 4A and CAR passed resolutions supporting the conduct of the RDS, the RDC-5 report said.
The RDC-5 also held a series of provincial stakeholders’ consultations for the RDS, which generated recommendations on railway development policies, plans, and strategies, preferred passengers and cargo train services, general and specific railway features and amenities.
Participants to the consultations included representatives of local government units, academe, chamber of commerce and industry, civil society, media and national government agencies.
The RDC-5 requested President Aquino to issue a directive to all concerned national government offices to hasten the formulation of railway development policies, master plans and investment programs to revive, expand and modernize the railway system in Luzon.
It also asked the President to instruct the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Philippine National Railway (PNR) to immediately resume the operation of the PNR Mainline South (Manila to Legazpi).
To come up with an action plan in promoting the updated Bicol RDP 2011-2016, the council conducted a communications advocacy technical workshop.
The objective is to generate support and participation of stakeholders in plan implementation.
It held RDP road shows, radio shows, media fora and focused group discussions. (PNA)