March 31, 2022 – The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII approved the Barog: Typhoon Odette Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (RRP) during its First Quarter Full Council Meeting on 31 March 2022 via Zoom.

The NEDA, as the overall lead for disaster rehabilitation and recovery activities under the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, spearheaded the formulation of the RRP. The document, in accordance with the build back better principle, contains proposed rehabilitation and recovery interventions along various sectors for the areas affected by Typhoon Odette.

In addition, the priority programs and projects (PAPs) of Agency Regional Offices and State Universities and Colleges deemed to be responsive to regional priorities and implementation-ready were endorsed for inclusion in the FY 2023 Budget Proposal. Other PAPs with insufficient supporting documents were recommended for possible inclusion in the FY 2023 Budget Proposal by the concerned Agency Central Offices, subject to the submission of the lacking requirements. As of 31 March 2022, there were 4,472 identified priority programs, activities, and projects for FY 2023 amounting to approximately PhP184 billion.

Moreover, the RDC VIII approved the inclusion in the FY 2023 National Expenditure Program of the PhP16 million funding balance for the 200 FY 2022 Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) beneficiary barangays in the region. This was to address the diminution of the FY 2022 SBDP Fund from the proposed PhP20 million per barangay to only PhP4 million.

Also endorsed were nine sectoral concerns of the RDC VIII-Sectoral Committees (SecComs) that were raised during the SecCom meetings conducted in March. Five resolutions by the RDC VIII-Executive Committee were likewise confirmed.

Further, the RDC VIII was apprised of the status of the Phase 2 and Phase 3 Water System and Pipe Replacement Projects in Tacloban City by a representative from the PrimeWater Leyte Metro. To date, both projects were already completed and inaugurated. It was explained that the main reason for the low water supply in the city is the advanced age of the pipelines—over 70 years. The foregoing projects alongside the ongoing pipe replacements in the City aim to address the prevailing issues on water supply experienced by consumers.

The meeting was presided over by RDC VIII Co-Chairperson and Private Sector Representative for Mass Media Luisita J. Quebec who highlighted the losses suffered by the businesses in the region due to the tight market and the existing economic conditions. She enjoined the body to think and to rethink the policies to be passed to provide the necessary support to keep the economy moving and to achieve the status due to the region’s populace.

Article and Photos by: Veronica Riel, DRD and Jensen Rico, PDIPBD