The PHP108.71 billion budget for Eastern Visayas in 2021 will provide the region with “massive tools” necessary in post-pandemic recovery efforts, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) reported on Tuesday.
The infrastructure and utilities sector accounted for PHP92.79 billion, followed by social development at PHP7.44 billion, economic development and development administration at PHP6.33 billion, and PHP2.2 billion, respectively, according to NEDA.
The endorsed funds are reprioritized budget proposals of 37 agency regional offices and state universities and colleges from across the region. The body discussed the budget during its full council meeting on Nov. 25.
“As we move forward, our resolve to pursue our development goals is stronger. Admittedly, our present circumstances pose formidable challenges. Foremost, the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the quarantine restrictions thereafter are seen to take a toll on the economy and subsequently increase poverty,” NEDA regional director Bonifacio Uy said.
To cushion the adverse impact brought about by Covid-19, Uy said the government initiated measures to improve growth and job prospects, as well as protect the highly-marginalized and vulnerable segments of society.
Emergency cash subsidies distributed under the social amelioration program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development is PHP3.8 billion for 830,466 families in Eastern Visayas as reported by NEDA.
The Department of Labor and Employment in the region disbursed PHP64.5 million to 12,901 affected workers in 915 establishments through its Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program.
For displaced and disadvantaged workers, the labor department has released PHP51.9 million for 15,750 beneficiaries in the region.
The Department of Agriculture regional office has also provided financial assistance to 58,465 affected farmers through three of the agency’s programs – Rice Farmer Financial Assistance, Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers, and Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program, according to NEDA.
Uy said the impact of movement restrictions will result in lower economic growth in 2020, but they are still optimistic of positive economic growth “no matter how small.”
“As the pandemic continues to rage on in the yet foreseeable future, it is easy to feel disheartened. We are survivors. Just as Eastern Visayas rose from the catastrophic winds of Super Typhoon Yolanda, we will definitely come out of this unprecedented health and economic crisis stronger with our unified efforts and resilient spirit,” he added. (PNA)