The State of the Region Report was delivered by Acting Chairperson, NEDA-VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal during the Regional Development Council (RDC-VI) 1st Quarter Meeting on March 30, 2017 at the RDC Conference Hall, NEDA-VI Office, lloilo City.   The RDC-VI is the highest decision- and policy-making body in the region composed of the governors, city mayors, mayors of capital towns, president of the league of municipalities, regional directors, and private sector representatives.  In the report, the 8.3 percent GRDP growth achieved in 2015, a decreasing trend in inflation rate for all commodity items from 2.3 percent in 2015 to only 1.9 percent in 2016, and the employment rate that increased from 94.6 percent in 2015 to 95.1 percent in 2016 indicate a steadily growing regional economy.

The Regional Development Plan (RDP) of Western Visayas for 2017-2022 was also approved by the Council. The RDP is in consonance with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), the Long Term Vision of the Filipino people for 2040 that aspires for a “prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor”, and the country’s commitment to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030.   By 2022, the region targets to have a GRDP growth rate from 9.8 to 11 percent.  To achieve this, multisectoral strategies target an increase in agri-fishery production, productivity and profitability; development of tourism circuits and destinations; pursuit of research and development innovations; enhancing the efficiency of public infrastructure; promoting investment, trade and exports; and protecting the environment.

For the next Fiscal Year, the Full Council endorsed the total proposed budget of national government agencies and state universities and colleges amounting to Php73.93 Billion for Tiers 1 and 2.  The total budget of Php66.78 Billion is allocated for the 23 NGAs and while Php7.15 Billion is for the SUCs.   This was derived from a series of Executive Committee consultation meetings held this month.

To shed light on the budgeting process Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Luz M. Cantor discussed the key objectives of the Public Expenditure Management (PEM) that includes fiscal discipline, allocative efficiency and operational efficiency. She also stressed the focus of the Duterte Administration for a just and disciplined fiscal policy.  This administration’s  resource mobilization aims to support infrastructure development (including a more reliable transport sector) and basic services.  Spending for peace and order and public safety will also increase “to “uphold the rights of the poorest and weakest in the community”.

The various committees then presented their respective reports and resolutions which were fully supported by the Council. (NEDA-VI)