LEGAZPI CITY: The Regional Deve–lopment Council (RDC) in Bicol on Friday approved P69.3-billion development projects to sustain economic growth and alleviate the lives of the poor communities in the countryside.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd has re-appointed Albay Gov. Joey Salceda as RDC chairman.
Among the projects lined up were Guicadale, P4.4 billion; the Naga-Polangui Freeway, P3.6 billion; the President Cory Road, P2.6 billion; Cagraray-Batan-Rapu-Rapu, P20.8 billion; Arimbay-Misericordia, P1.25 billion; Castilla bridge, P17.1 billion; and Almasor Tourism, P19.28 billion.
Romeo Escandor, National Eeconomic and Development Authority-Bicol director, said Bicol needed to modernize agriculture, boost manufacturing and develop tourism to address poverty.
“There is a need to attain and maintain a GDP growth rate of at least seven percent annually, reduce the poverty incidence to below 27 percent, and increase the employment rate to more than 94.7 percent,” Escandor said.
To counter poverty, the De–partment of Tourism Bicol led by director Maria Nini Ravanilla formulated the Albay- Masbate-Sorsogon (Almasor) Area Develop–ment Plan in accordance with Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2011-2016 and the updated Bicol Regional Development Plan.
Ravanilla said Almasor, dubbed as the “Soul of the South,” was the first tourism flagship approved by national government.
The NTDP identified the Almasor tourism development area (TDA) as one of the top five tourist destinations in the central Philippines with the capacity to support strategic and niche products that attract tourists.
Bicol region is aggressively pursuing tourism development programs to contribute 1.2 million foreign tourist arrivals to the 2016 national target of 10 million.