ILOILO City – The provinces of Western Visayas and the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod must collaborate if the region is to recover as one from the economic fallout of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Mayor Jerry Treñas. The private sector should actively get involved with crafting the roadmap and monitoring its compliance, he added. He called for greater collaboration between the government and private sector to keep up with the challenges. “We must really start talking now how we can work together para mapadasig ang economic recovery sang region,” said Treñas yesterday. “The roadmap will outline the emerging opportunities for the region which boasts accessibility and inter-connectivity as its major assets,” said Drilon./PN “We have to prove that we have economic resilience. Ang aton pumoluyo waay trabaho. Nabudlayan ang private sector mag-venture. The government should step in kag mangita projects nga may economic returns,” said Treñas. One concern that must be addressed, he said, was joblessness due to the closure of establishments as a result of over two months of rigid quarantine. Treñas said they would also seek inputs from Acting Socioeconomic Planning secretary Karl Chua and Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter of the Department of Agriculture, among others. Western Visayas transitioned to modified general community quarantine on June 1 from 73 days of being under enhanced community quarantine and general community quarantine since March when there were restrictions on the movement of people and operation of businesses and industries. The region registered a gross domestic product of 9.4 percent in 2015, 8.4 percent in 2016, 8.6 percent in 2017, but it slowed down in 2018 at 6.1 percent. The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in Region 6 was urged to make consultations with the Regional Development Council, the academe, business community, and various stakeholders. Region 6 is the fifth largest economy in the Philippines outside the National Capital Region (NCR) in 2018. “The formulation and implementation of this roadmap is very timely and critical. This roadmap will provide us a clear direction of where we are today and where we are headed. No province should be left behind. We will move forward as one region,” said Drilon. Ilonggo senator Franklin Drilon recently urged the Western Visayas Regional Development Council to craft a roadmap aimed at sustaining the region’s growth and development that has been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow, the governors of Iloilo (Arthur Defensor Jr.), Antique (Rhodora Cadiao), Aklan (Florencio Miraflores), Capiz (Esteban Evan Contreras), Guimaras (Samuel Gumarin), and Negros Occidental (Eugenio Jose Lacson), Mayor Evelio Leonardia of Bacolod City, and Treñas will have a virtual meeting to map out a regional economic recovery plan. “We need to collaborate and harmonize our goals and plans as one region. Now more than ever, we need to work together in order for our economies to grow and preserve the gains that we have achieved in the past,” said Drilon.