The RDC was established by virtue of Letter of Implementation No. 22 issued on December 31, 1972 to carry out the Integrated Reorganization Plan. The RDC in Region VI was the first to be organized in 1973 together with Region X. The other RDCs were established in 1974 and 1975.

Its present mandate rests in Article X, Section 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which states that:

“The President shall provide for Regional Development Councils
or other similar bodies composed of local government officials,
regional heads of departments and other government organizations within the regions,
for purposes of administrative decentralization,
to strengthen the autonomy of the units therein,
and to accelerate the economic and social growth and development
of the units in the region.”

Subsequent Executive Orders were issued by the President providing for the reorganization of the RDCs:

Executive Order No. 308, series of 1987, providing for the creation of a Regional Consultative Assembly (RCA) to serve as a consultative body to advise, assist, support and cooperate with the RDC;

Executive Order No. 318, series of 1988, expanding the membership of the RDC to include mayors of municipalities designated as provincial capitals of provinces where there are no chartered cities, and the RDC offices to include a Co-Chairman to be appointed by the President from among the nominees of the Council;

Executive Order No. 366, series of 1989, amending the composition and functions of the Regional Development Assembly;

Executive Order No. 347, series of 1989, expanding the membership of the RDC to include presidents of provincial leagues of mayors;

Executive Order No. 455, series of 1991, amending a statement on the composition membership of the Regional Development Assembly;

Executive Order No. 505, series of 1992, abolishing the Regional Development Assembly and the Regional Consultative Assembly;

On April 12 1996 the foregoing EOs were repealed with the issuance of EO 325 signed by President Fidel V. Ramos, then further amended by EO 143 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on November 2, 2002. Executive Order No. 384, s.1996, on the other hand, institutionalized labor sector representation in the Regional Development Councils.

Over the years, these issuances enhanced the composition and role of the RDC, making it more participative and responsive to new developments in the socio-economic-political fields and ensuring the conduct of sustainable and broad-based development processes.