BAGUIO CITY – NEDA-CAR and Office of Civil Defense-CAR (OCD-CAR) led government agencies to draft a Recovery and Resiliency Plan (RRP) that hopes to address the economic losses and recovery needs of the Cordillera region on account of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to NEDA-CAR, Vice-Chair of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) for Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery, the plan aims to enable the region to recover from the crisis with improved resilience in responding to the new normal. It was approved during the joint Regional Task Group-RDRRMC meeting last May 28.

It includes short-term and medium-term priority strategies, projects, programs, and activities covering the productive, social, and infrastructure sectors including those that cut across sectors. NEDA-CAR and OCD-CAR drafted the plan together with the regional offices of DTI, DSWD, DPWH, DOH, DILG, DOST, DepEd, DA, and DICT.

The Recovery and Resiliency Plan “aims for safer, adaptive, and more resilient Cordillera communities that are protected from risks and are able to cope with and recover quickly from pandemics”. Specifically, the plan discusses the goals of restoring a stable economy by creating sustainable income opportunities, ascertaining the public of adequate health systems, ensuring seamless and uninterrupted supply chain and logistics, as well as enhancing coordination and cooperation between the national government and LGUs, along with the private sector.

While LGUs made the best out of available evacuation centers and multi-purpose buildings and other facilities to address the challenge posed by the pandemic, the technical working group tasked to prepare the RRP urged local government units to update their comprehensive development plans and local disaster risk reduction management plans to better prepare for future pandemics. Cordilleran LGUs have performed relatively well in implementing the community quarantine measures and in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The plan puts forward the importance of a systematic process in identifying vulnerable sectors as well as the importance of fast-tracking the implementation of the national I.D. system. The need to enhance the design of infrastructure facilities to adequately respond to similar pandemics in the future was also recommended. Moreover, the delayed construction of infrastructure projects especially those concerning health as well as physical and virtual inter-connectivity were also considered extremely urgent hence should resume the soonest.

The crisis showed the need for better internet connectivity and the need to build the capacities of schools, businesses, and governments to use information and communication technology and adapt to the new normal of reduced face-to-face interaction.