CEBU CITY — Central Visayas (Region VII) aims to distribute economic growth among its municipalities by linking major urban centers, key production areas, and market centers, as stated in its Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017–2022, launched today in Cebu.

RDPs are socioeconomic development blueprints of the different regions in the country in line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017–2022. The PDP was identified by President Duterte as the guide of national and local government agencies’ programs, budgets, and strategies.

“Central Visayas is moving forward in sustaining its development through connectivity. This will promote economic integration, reduce poverty, and increase opportunities for human development across provinces,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

Pernia explained that part of the region’s Spatial Development Strategy is the construction and upgrading of arterial roads, the integration of transportation systems, and the development of secondary and major ports.

In the region, Infrastructure Flagship Projects identified by the NEDA Board are the New Cebu International Container Port, New Bohol Airport in Panglao Island, Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge, Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge, Cebu-Negros Link Bridge, and the Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Project.

In its proposed network of urban centers, the RDP identifies Metro Cebu as the region’s metropolitan center and Metro Tagbilaran (Bohol) as its regional center.

Sub-regional centers include Bogo-San Remigio (Cebu), Toledo City-Balamban (Cebu), Metro Dumaguete (Negros Oriental), and Tubigon (Bohol).

“For the next six years, Central Visayas will continue to be a major growth center in the country by making the most of our strategic location and diverse sources of growth,” NEDA Regional Director Efren B. Carreon said.

He identified tourism, information technology, business process outsourcing, manufacturing, and construction as growth drivers of the region.

Carreon also noted that the region had the highest growth momentum among all regions in the last regional plan period of 2011–2016, with a GRDP average growth rate of 7.5 percent, higher than the National Capital Region’s.

By 2022, the region aims to reach a GRDP growth rate of 8.3–8.8 percent, reduce poverty incidence among families to 17.6 percent, and cut the unemployment rate to 3–4 percent.

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