Eastern Visayas has one of the fewest big-ticket infrastructure projects in the country, according to the latest findings of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) presented during the Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII-Advisory Committee Meeting on 27 May 2021.

Of the Php 4.1 trillion-worth of Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFP) in the country, Visayas accounts for only around 8.7% of the total. Region 8 has only one project worth Php 1.1 billion which stands in stark contrast to other regions in the Visayas that have projects worth Php 337.8 billion currently underway.

Central Visayas have seven IFP projects worth Php 117.1 billion, which includes the New Bohol (Panglao) International Airport and the Cebu Monorail System. Meanwhile, Region 6 has 8 projects worth a combined total of Php 220.7 billion pesos including the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge and the Kalibo International Airport. On the other hand, the sole project slated in the region is the Samar Pacific Coastal Road which is due to be finished later this year.

IFPs are the priority big-ticket projects promoted by the Duterte Administration.

Compared to other regions, the Visayas and Mindanao regions endorse more infrastructure projects suggesting higher infrastructure needs. However, RDC-endorsed amounts fall significantly once it goes through the National Expenditure Plan (NEP) and Government Appropriations Act (GAA) processes due to the budget ceiling and other priorities of the national government. The result is that these regions are given fewer projects compared to those in Luzon.

NEDA, on their part, proposed several ways forward to ensure future equity in budget appropriation among regions. This includes strengthening the monitoring mechanisms of the budget process and improving the coordination between the central and regional offices during the budgeting process.

The report was presented during the Regional Development Council VIII – Advisory Committee (RDC VIII-AdCom) on 27 May 2021 by NEDA Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla. The RDC VIII-AdCom is composed of the members of the Executive Committee and all congresspersons in the region.

Article and Photos by: Knulp Aseo