Press Releases

Salceda proposes Bicol-Waray Economic Superregion to boost economies of two Pacific-facing regions

September 19th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is proposing the creation of the Bicol-Waray Economic Superregion for economic planning purposes, similar to the North Luzon Growth Quadrangle, “to optimize the growth potential of both regions, and as the fastest and most effective way to integrate the Luzon and Visayas economies.”

Salceda formally announced the proposal during the COLLABDEV 2nd National Assembly, an event organized by the leading economic think-tank Action for Economic Reforms and sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Tacloban City today.

Salceda was the Keynote Speaker for the event, attended by scores of local government officials, university professors, and civil society groups.

“Bicol is essentially the Waray region’s economic, cultural, and demographic linkage with Luzon.”

“Albay is the most densely populated province in the country’s eastern seaboard. We are the Pacific Gateway, having both ports and an international airport that the Warays can also use. For this reason, the destiny of Eastern Visayas is linked with that of Albay and the Bicol Region,” Salceda explained in his keynote speech.

Salceda also explained that “a melding of our growth paths will only make the road for our progress wider.”

“A merging of road infrastructure across the two regions will be critical for food security in the
superregion.”

“Key commodities such as Rice, Sugar, Vegetables, Fruits, Seeds, and dressed poultry needed by the Warays pass through Bicol,” Salceda explained.

“Copra and Abaca for processing from Waray region passes through Bicol. These are intermediate agricultural products, highlighting the superregion’s importance in increasing value-added for Eastern Visayas’s agriculture sector,” Salceda added.

“Basically, if you want to connect the Eastern Visayas region with the Luzon economy and raise value added in agriculture in the region, you need stronger spatial and economic connections between Bicol and Eastern Visavas.”

“This will allow Eastern Visayas to benefit from both the SLEX Extension to Bicol and the PNR South Long Haul Project”

Salceda says that the superregion can be proclaimed by Executive issuance and used for interregional planning by government agencies, especially infrastructure implementing agencies.”

Salceda clarified that the superregion will not supplant existing regional structures, and is instead “a way for government agencies to converge their programs better, especially between these two regions.”

Salceda also reiterated his call for more and better transport options between Matnog, the southernmost town of Luzon island, and Allen, the town in Samar Island closest to Luzon.”

“The dream for a Bicol-Waray Economic Superregion is best symbolized by the Matnog-Allen bridge proposal. But it looks like we won’t get there anytime soon. So, we should gun for alternatives, from a train to barge cargo system, to a decongestion of the Matnog port.”

“Once fully connected by land, Legazpi to Tacloban will be around 9 hours away from each other, making these two cities closer together than Legazpi and Manila by travel time.”

“We are both typhoon-prone, historically disadvantaged regions with very similar rural profiles. The congressional representatives of these regions are uniquely placed to field the resources to make plans for the superregion happen. The Speaker is Waray. The House Chairs of the budget and of taxes are both Bicolanos.”

“And, most importantly, the President is half-Waray. So this is an opportune moment. This constellation may never again align as well as it does for the Bicol-Waray superregion today.”

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