The Regional Development Council VI convened on November 22, 2019 at The Venue Hotel and Convention Center, San Jose, Antique.  The meeting, presided by re-appointed RDC-VI Chairperson/Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao of Antique, was attended by 55 representatives from national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs) and the private sector. Aligning local plans to the Regional Development Plan, the importance of timely updating the Comprehensive Development Plan, the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the Local Development Investment Program, collaborative efforts with stakeholders in the development process, and the whole-of-nation approach for a just and sustainable peace were the highlights in Governor Cadiao’s welcome message.  Assistant Secretary Marshall C. Amaro delivered the keynote address on behalf of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

ASec. Amaro cited the necessity to increase forest cover and production in the region in line with the expanded National Greening Program (NGP).  He further explained that to make Western Visayas a bamboo hub, 60 hectares of land is targeted for bamboo propagation in Panay. Ms. Liza Marie Cabungcal of DENR-VI presented the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP) 2015-2028, which aims for the restoration and rehabilitation of Philippine ecosystems by 2028 through 20 targets in connection with conservation, ecosystem services, and the reduction and addressing drivers of threats to biodiversity.  The PBSAP was localized through RDC Resolution No. 61, series of 2018 and the Western Visayas Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and a Biodiversity Finance Plan.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal emphasized the role of the youth in biodiversity management while Governor Cadiao made a call to action for LGUs to advocate, implement and monitor biodiversity targets.

Ms. Ruth C. Martinez shared the Malandog River Rehabilitation and Development (MARIREDEP) Project Implementation Updates, which includes the Assessment and Mapping of Malandog River and Adjacent Coastal Habitats, Maintenance and Protection of Malandog River and Adjacent Coastal and Marine Ecosystem, Biodiversity Friendly Social Enterprise (BDSFE) Development, and Communication, Education and Public Awareness.

Mr. Francis Roque, the Assistant Vice President of Aboitiz Infra Capital presented the Altum Towers – Common Towers Proposal.  He highlighted the benefits of having common telecommunication towers such as increased reach and coverage, cellular activity and quality, while having a reduced cost.

The RDC decided to abolish its Regional Investment and Competitiveness Coordination Committee (RI3C) recognizing the Regional Competitiveness Committee set up by the DTI.  The latter is now expected to regularly report to the Economic Development Committee on matters related to increasing the competitiveness of Western Visayas, especially among its LGUs.  The Committee on Research and Development (CRD) is now the Regional Research, Development and Innovation Committee (RRDIC); and a special committee on Regional Culture, Heritage and Arts Committee has been created as a special committee of the RDC.

The RDC-VI conferred plaques of recognition to the following regional winners of the Search for Outstanding Volunteers 2019: Henedina N. Gregorius, Pablito C. Gonzales and Lourdes Y. Hofileña (National Outstanding Volunteer Award (NOVA) Individual Adult Category) and the Order of Asclepius, World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. and Camp Goducate Phils., Inc.  (NOVA Non-Profit Organization Category).  (IGPahila/NEDA-VI DRD)