It is imperative that leaders and policy makers implement strategies and measures that will allow the country to recover economically and socially, while staying on track towards achieving the long-term aspirations laid out in the #AmBisyonNatin2040.
NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Dr. Rosemarie Edillon, who gave an overview on the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 during the Central Visayas leg of the PDP virtual caravan, stressed that the pandemic has given rise to prospects that need to be treaded carefully to ensure that these would lead to recovery.
“The long-term vision remains the same; it just became more pronounced due to the pandemic… The challenge now is to craft and implement measures that will allow us to strike a balance between opening the economy and addressing the public health crisis. We need to tweak the different strategies (in the PDP) to achieve a healthy and resilient Philippines,” said Edillon during the caravan held recently via Zoom.
NEDA Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, in his recorded message, said that the PDP was updated to better respond to the challenges resulting from the pandemic. He also urged participants to continue working together to bounce back from the crisis and build a better future for the country.
NEDA Regional Office (NRO) 7 Director Efren Carreon and Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 Chairperson Kenneth Cobonpue echoed Secretary Chua’s and Usec. Edillon’s sentiments. RD Carreon urged the public to help ensure that PDP strategies are implemented, especially since these are crucial to addressing concerns in Central Visayas such as food resiliency and security, human capital development, and accelerating infrastructure and IT. Cobonpue, for his part, said the updated PDP will allow the public to see what new realities are being considered in light of the pandemic, and the new opportunities for collective action that these bring.
Updates on the PDP
Usec. Edillon mentioned key reforms and programs—Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Act, Rice Tariffication Law, and increased coverage for social pension, to name a few—that have been accomplished after the PDP was crafted. She also talked about scenarios—health and environment, social and demographic, economic, political, and technology—that have presented themselves during the pandemic and must be maneuvered carefully to achieve the AmBisyon Natin 2040. During the Q&A, Usec. Edillon also answered questions mostly on the government’s COVID vaccination, being the chairperson of the Task Group on Recovery under the National Task Force against COVID-19. Aside from an overview of the updated PDP, the virtual caravan also tackled specific PDP chapters on food resiliency and security, human capital development, and accelerating infrastructure and IT.
Director Nieva Natural of the NEDA-Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environment Staff discussed the chapter on Ensuring Food Resiliency and Security. She said that the pandemic disrupted agricultural activities and food supply chains, and triggered a shift in consumer preference. But Natural said that, on the other hand, the pandemic has shown us the importance of the agriculture sector and how its growth is crucial for recovery.
OIC Director Girlie Grace Igtiben of the NEDA-Social Development Staff discussed the chapter in Human Capital Development for Greater Agility and Employment, where she stressed that the goal now is equity and resilience in terms of health, education, and employment. She also said that among the challenges that must be addressed now are quality of education in all levels, uninterrupted family planning services, equitable health financing, utilizing artificial intelligence and big-data analytics for health data, and improving employability through up-skilling.
OIC Assistant Director Francis Bryan Coballes of the NEDA-Infrastructure Staff talked about Accelerating Infrastructure and IT and how strategic projects in water and water systems, transport, energy, ICT and social infrastructure must still be pursued even as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.
Private sector representatives (PSRs) of the RDC gave their responses to the different chapters discussed. The common theme of their response was the importance of strategizing and monitoring the execution of PDP strategies, to increase prospects of achieving their targeted outcomes. Other PSRs and agency partners of NRO 7 also appeared in a video clip to pledge their support to the implementation of the updated PDP. PSRs from Cebu and Bohol assured their support for the PDP and called for the widespread support for the PDP, saying that collaboration is needed to ensure that we help realize the fruition of AmBisyon Natin 2040 and that implementation of the Plan could help the country recover from the pandemic. Regional directors from DOLE and Cooperative Development Authority also assured to continue implementing programs that are aligned with PDP strategies.
The Central Visayas leg of the updated PDP virtual caravan was jointly organized by the the NRO 7 and the RDC 7. It was participated in by some 300 representatives from regional line agencies, local government units, academe, non-government organizations, and the private sector.