CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Sept. 27 (PIA) -- The number one priority of the COVID-19 recovery plan for Northern Mindanao (NorMin) is to really expand capacities of public health facilities and personnel, accroding to Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Carino of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-10.
In a recent episode of CORDS X podcast with Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the lady NEDA director said the investment requirement for the regional recovery program - the bulk of the investment- would go to social services particularly health and education.
"This would include social services, particularly the public health sectors, to be able to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact for infectious diseases," she explained.
There are about 64 strategies, 44 legislative proposals, and 339 programs, projects and activities under the COVID-19 recovery plan.
"It is important to have a regional recovery program. While we are busy addressing the consequences of COVID, we have to start rehabilitation. We have to start recovery. That is why we prepared the regional recovery program. Our intention is for the socio-economic conditions in region 10 to be restored, and to improve our resilience. The recovery program would require P197 billion investment from now until 2022 to recover," Carino said.
The desired outcome for the economy, Carino said, is consumer activities restored and the support services for workers, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and consumers made accessible.
"There are 64 strategies. One is to ensure the availability and accessibility of sufficient and safe food supply with improved irrigation system to continue agricultural production. Another is to accelerate the digital operations amidst the increase in remote and contactless transactions, and restore business activities and promote adaptive and resilient entrepreneurial activities," she said.
Northern Mindanao's development framework is consistent with the development framework of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, which is anchored on the three pillars: Malasakit, enhancing the social fabric through people centered clean and efficient governance; Pagbabago, reducing inequality through urban rural migration; and Patuloy na Pag-Unlad through promoting Science and Technology and continuous implementation of Build Build Build projects amid COVID 19.
Carino, however, explained that prior to making the recovery plan, they had to know the economic status of the region amid pandemic.
Based on the data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-10, with over 37,412 establishments in region 10 accommodating 292,000 workers, around 9,600 or 26% establishments were affected by COVID 19. Meanwhile, of these affected establishments, 46 have permanently closed down and over 200 reported to have reduced their workforce and adopting alternative work arrangements, affecting 172,000 workers or 51 percent.
The region had a high unemployment rate at the height of COVID 19 at 11.1 percent. But when the economy slowly opened up in July, unemployment was reduced to 6 percent.
The most hit sector is tourism. Some P2.66 billion in revenues got lost between March to July, displacing 15,509 workers. Per GRDP, by the end of the year the region would have lost P50 billion at current prices, she said.
Carino is hopeful for good things to come to the region, however.
"We want to be the trading hub, and actually we are, because we are the only region that has direct links to all the regions. It is my fearless forecast that when all the investments are realized in the region, we would really attain this vision of becoming the trading hub, industrial core and trading center in the south," Carino maintained. (JMORucat/PIA10)