The MIMAROPA Regional Development Council (RDC) has confirmed the adoption of the region’s Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (RRP) for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)  during its Full Council meeting held on June 5, virtually through Zoom.

The approval of the RRP was one of the highlights of the meeting, which also included a long list of agenda items that addressed issues and concerns regarding the region’s whole-of-government approach to mitigating the effects of COVID-19.

The MIMAROPA RRP for COVID-19 contains an assessment of the implications of the pandemic to the socioeconomic situation of the region.  It describes the effects to livelihood, supply of basic needs, mobility of goods and services, business operations, capacity of the health sector to respond, and implementation of health safety measures and protocols at the local level to mitigate the further spread of the virus. The proposed programs, projects, and activities for the implementation of rehabilitation and recovery in the region amounting to nearly 31 billion pesos.

RDC Chairperson and Romblon Governor Jose R. Riano presided over the meeting which was attended by Marinduque Governor Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.; President of League of Municipalities and San Vicente, Palawan Mayor Amy R. Alvarez; President of League of Municipalities and Paluan, Occidental Mindoro Mayor Carl Michael Pangilinan; Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog Secretary Jose Maria F. Hernandez; directors and representatives of regional line agencies (RLAs), local government units (LGUs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and private sector representatives.

In his message, Secretary Hernandez congratulated Governor Riano as the new RDC Chairperson, and Lieutenant Generals Antonio G. Parlade, Jr., and Erickson R. Gloria as the new Commanders of the Southern Luzon Command and Western Command, respectively. He also expressed his appreciation for the efforts of fellow government workers and other stakeholders in nation building. He encouraged everyone to converge and work as one in combatting and defeating the New People’s Army in MIMAROPA, in the same manner that COVID-19 is being fought in the region.

The RDC members were briefed on the following: National Budget Memoranda  136 and 137, effects of National Budget Circular No. 580 on MIMAROPA line agencies, opening of classes and learning continuity plans, sub-task groups updates on health response, operations, and strategic communication, utilization of StaySafe.Ph in tracking COVID-19, public information campaign on online banking, Hatid Probinsya Program, regional economic situationer, project monitoring report, and status of RDC endorsed projects.

Meanwhile, the Council approved/endorsed the following: (a) Department of Agriculture-Farm to Market Roads or DA-FMR under for “For Later Release”; (b) Palawan Council for Sustainable Development  fiscal year  2021 Tier 2 proposal; (c) inclusion of SUCs as Regional Project Monitoring Committee non-voting members; (d) prevention of discrimination and violence against suspect, probable, and confirmed COVID-19 patients, returning overseas Filipino workers  and health service workers; (e) Master Plan for Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development for Calapan City; (f) confirmation of Ms. Marie Grace Cristina G. Faylona as private sector representative (PSR) to the RDC; and (g) confirmation of RDC Executive Committee resolutions such as  list of priority programs, projects or activities of agency regional offices (AROs) for COVID-19 (as part of the MIMAROPA RRP), inclusion of barangay officials/personnel in the list of target beneficiaries under Social Amelioration Program, and requiring locally stranded individuals or LSIs to undergo transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test before allowing them to go back to their respective provinces.