In a briefing, NEDA officials reiterated pronouncements that the natural disaster will have a minimal impact on economic growth in the first quarter of the year unless a more destructive eruption occurs.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
NEDA drawing up rehab plans for Taal-affected areas
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A rehabilitation plan for areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas is now being drawn up, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

In a briefing, NEDA officials reiterated pronouncements that the natural disaster will have a minimal impact on economic growth in the first quarter of the year unless a more destructive eruption occurs. 

“We are starting to lay down the major components of the rehab. We are gathering agencies to do what is called a post-disaster needs survey,” said NEDA Undersecretary for regional development Adoracion Navarro. 

“But before that, we would like to see the information that the Office of Civil Defense has. They already did an aerial survey. We would like to know the data and incorporate this in the rehab plan.” 

Batangas was immediately placed under a state of calamity a day after the eruption of Taal Volcano. Markets in the capital were shut down and thousands were immediately evacuated from devastated areas. 

“Right now, looking at possible measures to fast-track the rehab like looking at availability of resources,” Navarro said. 

Based on prelimary assessments of the impact of the Taal eruption on economic activities in CALABARZON, foregone income in agriculture and fishery, industry and services within a 14-kilometer radius was placed at P4.31 billion as of Jan. 20. 

Within a 17-kilometer radius, meanwhile, foregone income in these sectors was estimated at P6.66 billion. 

This was lower compared with the Jan. 14 assessment of P7.63 billion in foregone income from economic sectors when the impact was estimated to be more severe. 

All these estimates still do not include damages to public infrastructure and privately owned assets. 

Also taken into consideration for the lower estimates were the assumption of longer closure of tourism establishments and greater expectation of more violent volcanic activity. 

“You may notice that this is lower than what was announced by Secretary Pernia last Tuesday. That was because we had a larger estimate at that time for the services sector. Because our assumption was based on the fear that there will be a violent volcanic eruption that was why we assumed a longer closure period of tourism establishments,” Navarro said. 

 “But as we noticed in Tagaytay, some establishments have started their operations again. We also got a clearer picture on the effects in the manufacturing sector and electricity and water sector,” she added. 

Pernia said the greater economic resilience of CALABARZON region compared with other regions would enable it to bounce back from calamity faster. 

 “CALABARZON is among the richest regions so the impact on livelihood is less compared if it were in Eastern Visayas and ARMM,” he said. 

Reconstruction and relief efforts in the region, he said, would also spur economic activity during the quarter. 

TAAL VOLCANO
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