The first Regional Development Council-Regional Peace and Order Council (RDC-RPOC) VI Joint Meeting was conducted in the Province of Guimaras on October 20, 2017.

Despite the gale and rain, members of the RDC and RPOC trouped to the island province to attend the meeting. Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin, Chairperson of the RPOC welcomed the participants and lauded the involvement of the private sector in government projects. He emphasized that the cornerstone of development is the stability of peace and order in Western Visayas. He added that the region should not be complacent and must always be watchful of the possible spill-over of extremists from Mindanao to the Visayas.

RDC-VI Vice-Chairperson Ro-Ann Bacal of NEDA delivered the message of Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao, RDC-VI Chairperson. She reminded everyone that both the government and private sector need to be continuously vigilant and should empower the communities by increasing their capacities to address conflicts and reduce their vulnerabilities to terrorism.

RD Bacal also presented the salient features of the Philippine Development Plan and the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022, as well as the priority programs and projects of Region VI that will require extra security measures during and after their implementation.

The Regional Peace and Order Situation, Assessment of the State of Security in Region VI, Illegal Drug Situation and Updates on the Implementation of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program, and the Insurgency Situation in Region VI were presented by P/S Supt. Gerlito Feliciano, Mr. John Ramos of NICA, ARD Tess Albano of PDEA, and Col. Pio DiƱoso of the 3rd ID-Philippine Army, respectively. Commissioner Felizardo M. Serapio, Jr. of the National Police Commission gave a thought-provoking presentation on Violent Extremism.

During its business proper, the body passed a resolution authorizing the RDC-VI Chairperson to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Agriculture Region VI covering the transfer of funds from DA-VI to RDC-VI for the implementation of the following projects: formulation of the regional priority commodities roadmaps and conduct of capacity building training on value chain analysis and industry clustering; conduct of a study on gender participation in agriculture and fishery in Western Visayas; and production of audio-visuals and other IEC for advocacy activities on the RDP 2017-2022 totalling about PhP11 million. This was followed by the ceremonial signing of the MOA by RD Remelyn Recoter of the DA-VI and RDC Vice Chairperson Ro-Ann Bacal as witness. (DRD)