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NorMin COVID-19 recovery plan to expand health facilities, personnel capacity

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Sep. 26 (PIA)–The number one priority of the COVID-19 recovery plan for the region is to really expand capacities of public health facilities and personnel said Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-10 regional director.

During a recent episode of CORDS X podcast with Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the NEDA director highlighted that the investment requirement for the regional recovery program, the bulk of the investment would go to social services particularly for health and education.

This would include social services particularly for public health sectors to be able to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact for infectious diseases.

There are about 64 strategies, 44 legislative proposals, and 339 programs, projects and activities, NEDA 10 proposed.

“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 socio economic conditions in region 10 to be restored and improve our resilience. The recovery program would require P197B investment from now until 2022 to recover,” Cariño said.

The desired outcome for the economy meanwhile, according to the director, is productive and consumer activities restored and support services for workers, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and consumers are made accessible.

“We have many strategies. There are 64 strategies, one is to ensure the availability and accessibility of sufficient and safe food supply, and an improved irrigation system to continue agricultural production. Accelerate the digital operations amidst the increase of remote and contact less 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 are anchored on 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.

Cariño however explained that prior to making the recovery plan, they had to know the economic status of the region amid pandemic. “Before we were able to prepare the regional recovery plan, we had to assess the region. How has covid affected the region,” the director said.

Based on 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 percent establishments were affected by COVID 19. Meanwhile, of these affected, 46 have permanently closed and over 200 reported reducing their workforce and adopting alternative work arrangements. It affected 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. Its effect between March to July is P2.66B in terms of revenues lost. Meanwhile, 15,509 workers have been displaced. Per GRDP, by the end of the year the region would have lost P50B at current prices, she said.

The director, however, is hopeful for good things to come to the region.

“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,” Cariño said. (JMOR/PIA10)

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