The Regional Development Council (RDC) VI held its 1st quarter meeting last March 29, 2016 at the RDC Conference Hall, NEDA Region VI Office, Fort San Pedro Road, Iloilo City, participated by 38 members. RDC Acting Chairperson and NEDA-VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal, CESO III presided the meeting and delivered the State of the Region Address (SORA), showcasing the region’s economic gains in 2015 particularly in increasing the level of employment, improving the peace and order situation, accelerating infrastructure development, among others, as well as, prospects for 2016.

Director Bacal also reported on the major accomplishments of the Councils and proposed activities to be undertaken in 2016 of the RDC. Among others, the RDC Secretariat plans to prepare a coffee table book that will include narratives and photographs covering its 40-year history. It also will embark on a logo design contest that will depict the new Western Visayas configuration given that Negros Occidental now belongs to another region.

BFAR VI Regional Director, Remia Aparri, on behalf of Director Asis G. Perez, presented the regional scenario and the challenges faced by the fisheries sector vis-à-vis recent fisheries policies, and national support programs.

During the meeting, the Council confirmed the RDC VI Executive Committee resolutions endorsing the budget for 2017 of 22 Regional Line Agencies which amounted to PhP71.2 Billion and eight SUCs, totalling PhP6.1 Billion. This was an offshoot of the earlier RDC ExCom meeting held last March 1-2 where budget proposals for FY 2017 of regional line agencies and state colleges and universities were scrutinized and evaluated.

The report of the Development Administration Committee was delivered by Mr. Wilfredo Homicillada where a resolution “Endorsing to the Philippine Congress to Review and Consider Amendments to the Government Service Insurance Act of 1997 and Related Laws on Government Service Insurance Retirement Packages” was approved by the body.

Engr. Zinnia Teruel, presented the Social Development Committee’s report and presented resolutions enjoining all local government units and regional line agencies to “Ensure Strict Implementation of Immunization Services under the National Immunization Program” and “Enjoining SUCs to use the National Household Targeting System Database of Basis in the Identification of Scholars and Beneficiaries of Other Student Assistance Programs”, both of which were approved by the Council.

Ms. Ma. Luisa Segovia reported for the Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) and presented seven resolutions which were all approved by the body. These include: two resolutions requesting DPWH to fund and undertake the right of way acquisition of the diversion road near the Caticlan Airport Development Project and to adopt a 3.35 meter width for all road concreting projects along the Asian Highway or Primary Arterial Roads; resolutions requesting the LTO to require owners/operators of apprehended overloaded trucks to undergo a Seminar of Anti-Overloading Law before the renewal of vehicle registration, and to apprehend and penalize operators/drivers of trucks who litter their load along national roads; a resolution requesting the PNP, PCG and MARINA to formulate a guideline regulating the carrying of firearms and ammunitions aboard motor bancas, fast crafts and passenger vessels; a resolution requesting the DOE to formulate a guideline prohibiting the planting of trees and building of structures near power lines; and a resolution requesting the DOTC to construct airstrip facilities in selected island-barangays for disaster response and emergency purposes. The construction of airstrips, according to Ms. Segovia, can also boost the tourism industry in the island-barangays.

The Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC), chaired by Ms. Febie Ibojos, presented a resolution endorsing the budget for the Women’s Month Research Forum, which was approved by the body.

Director Bacal reported and presented two resolutions from the Regional Project Monitoring Committee, namely: “Endorsing the Call for LGUs to Confer with DPWH, DA, DAR, DSWD, DILG, DO and DENR in the preparation of the List of Farm-to-Market Roads Proposed for Funding”; and “Requesting DPWH to Fast Track the Issuance of the Guidelines on Standardizing Stationing of Local Roads”.

The resolution of the Regional Land Use Committee presented by Director Bacal entitled “Endorsing the Request for DENR-LMB Central Office to Fast Track the Release of the Official Cadastral Survey Results of the Provinces, Cities and Municipalities in Western Visayas” was approved by the body.

For the Regional Competitiveness Committee (RCC) announced that the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) Survey will be undertaken this April hence calling for the participation and support of all municipalities, cities, and provinces of Region VI. The survey will determine which cities and municipalities are the most competitive in the country and should provide important information for local officials to track their progress compared to previous years.

A Certificate of Commendation was conferred to Mr. Benfred Tacuyan as National Awardee in the 2015 Search for Outstanding Volunteers. Plaques of Commendation were also conferred to DSWD Regional Director Evelyn Macapobre who was transferred to Region VII and to former DPWH Regional Director Edilberto Tayao who retired last February 2016. (IGPahila/DRD)