Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 Chairperson Kenneth Cobonpue is optimistic that despite the work that still needs to be done, Central Visayas can be a world-class region with the active participation of all RDC members.
“I am pleased to note that we have, indeed, done a lot in the last three years… Let us continue to work together and persevere to bring about a more progressive Central Visayas,” Cobonpue said in his State of the Region Report last 18 July 2019.
Cobonpue gave an overview of the region’s economy and how its key economic drivers have contributed to the region’s growth. Among those that he noted were:
- Central Visayas is the fourth highest in terms of GRDP growth rate in 2018 at 7.6%, which exceeded the 7.4% high-end growth target in the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022
- Tourism, Construction, Manufacturing and the IT/BPM sectors remain the main growth drivers.
- In Tourism, visitor arrivals was up by 16.1%, with a total of 8.099 million tourists, both foreign and local, which translated to tourist expenditures reaching roughly P44.2 billion
- In the IT/BPM sector, a sustained demand for workers and office spaces brought revenues of over P80 billion a year, and employment opportunities to over 160,000 direct and 500,000 indirect workers
- Total approved investments in 2018 reached P67 billion from P44.9 billion in 2017. Total combined investments from both foreign and local sources rose to 49.4 percent in 2018 from 12.1 in the previous year
- Unemployment in the first few months of 2019 was down to 5.2% from 5.8%, so was underemployment, from 24.4% to 18.4%, and
- Decrease in poverty incidence among families, from 28.5% in the first semester of 2015 to 19% in 2018.
“These figures tell us that the combined efforts of different government agencies in the region, and the support of our partners and stakeholders from the private sector have proved vital in attaining the goals that we have set in the 2017-2022 Regional Development Plan,” Cobonpue said.
Updates on projects
The highlight of Cobonpue’s message were the accomplishments of the RDC under his chairmanship and the updates of major infrastructure projects planned or being implemented in the region.
These include the following:
1. The Metro Cebu Expressway
2. Talisay-Minglanilla-Naga and Mandaue-Consolacion-Liloan Bypass, and Guadalupe-Lahug Diversion roads
3. Fourth Mandaue-Mactan Link Bridge with Mandaue Coastal Road
4. Metro Cebu Flood Control and Drainage Master Plan
5. New Panglao Offshore Bridge Connector
6. Cang-alwang Airport in Siquijor
7. Cebu-Negros-Panay Power Interconnection Project and Cebu-Bohol Power Interconnection Project
8. New Cebu International Container Port
9. New Bacong Airport in Negros Oriental
10. Creation of a technical working group (TWG) for sea transport system
11. Geometric improvements of 25 major intersections
12. Endorsement for the creation of the Metro Cebu Traffic Council
13. Widening of Hernan Cortes Road
Cobonpue also reported the major accomplishments of the different RDC sectoral and special committees in the last three years.