A total of P33.4 billion has been prepared for the three-year recovery plan for the Cordillera from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gregorio Aris of the National Economic Development Authority-Cordillera and vice chair for rehabilitation and recovery cluster reported last week the amount is factored in the Covid-19 Regional Recovery Plan for 2020-2021, which was prepared, completed, and approved in May to assess the effects and long-term impacts of Covid-19, and will address a total damage of P18.6B across all sectors throughout the region.
Thirteen percent or P4.4B of the budget will come from the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC), while 47 percent or P15.6B will come from and shared by government agencies, and 40 percent or P13.4B from local government units.
Aris said the plan is currently disseminated for the concerned agencies and LGUs to consider in their respective efforts in preparing the region in case of future pandemics such as the Covid-19.
Civil Defense-Cordillera Director Albert Mogol, chair of the Cordillera Regional DRRMC, said 35 agencies have participated in the crafting of the recovery plan, programs, and projects.
Planned programs include the construction of hospitals to realize their objective for each province in the region to have its own hospital.
“One of the lessons from the pandemic is our lack of facilities capable of conducting mass testing and for quarantine purposes, so we might as well make use of this opportunity to increase the number of our testing facilities,” Mogol said.
Since the pandemic was not expected, he said LGUs were compelled to use available infrastructures like schools as quarantine facilities, which would have to be returned especially now that some schools will be used in areas where the conduct face-to-face classes may be allowed.
“Kung mapapaigting pa natin ito at magkakaroon pa tayo ng mas maraming pasilidad, we can be prepared, dahil after Covid-19 definitely meron na naman tayong challenge na pandemic (na haharapin),” he said.
Mogol said they also plan on focusing on education to produce more health workers in the region.
“Based on statistics we have gathered, dito sa Cordillera ang may pinakamataas na percentage ng mga professional health workers compared to other regions. This contributed kung bakit mababa ang ating mortality rate. Although we have positive cases, mataas ang ating recovery rate because of the capability of our doctors,” Mogol said.
He added funds for disaster response and other calamities remain intact. – Hanna C. Lacsamana