The RDC VI conducted its Full Council Meeting on July 2, 2020, through a virtual conference via ZOOM, attended by 49 out of 71 members.  RDC VI Chairperson and Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao, in her opening message, highlighted the impact of COVID-19 to the regional economy during the 1st quarter of the year and acknowledged the efforts of both national and local governments as they continue to implement their programs and projects in order that public services continue to be delivered to the people of Western Visayas. She also recognized the efforts of the private business sector, those in farming, services, utilities, trading, and transport who made sure that the regional economy continues to function despite the many difficulties and restrictions.

Gov. Cadiao further reported on the harsh impact of the pandemic to inflation and prices, supply of food and necessities, employment, industry and businesses, tourism, imports and exports, shipping, cargo and passenger traffic, air traffic, passenger and cargo movement, and peace and order.  She called upon everyone to do their part and to step up so that once again, the wheels of the economy could start turning, and the people will again go back to work and earn a decent living.

USEC. Rodolfo V. Vicerra, Undersecretary for Policy and Planning, Department of Agriculture, was also invited during the meeting and presented the Way Forward for Agriculture and Fisheries Under the New Normal.  He discussed the Food Security Development Framework of the department, which is “Survive, Reboot, and Grow to Socio-Economic Recovery and Resiliency” and the priorities of the department which are production and availability, accessibility and affordability, price stability and food safety.  Usec Vicerra, expressed his hope for a partnership with RDCs and other stakeholders on improving the performance of the agriculture sector in the country to help increase the “Ani” and “Kita” of the agriculture stakeholders.

Dir. Marlyn W. Convocar and Dr. Jane Juanico of the Department of Health updated the members on the status of COVID-19 in Western Visayas.  As of July 1, 2020, there are a total of 332 confirmed cases, with 8 new cases, 139 recoveries (42%), 182 active cases, and 11 deaths (3.3%).  Mostly affected gender is male at 205 cases (62%).

The RDC approved the Updated Regional Development Investment Program (2017-2022) which includes the major programs and projects supportive of the objectives and targets committed in the Western Visayas Regional Development Plan. A total of 3,827 programs and projects were proposed which will require a total investment of PhP 576.7 Billion for the period CY 2020 to 2022.  A presentation of the top 10 priority projects of Region 6 was also presented.

Likewise, the RDC approved the Regional Recovery Plan for Western Visayas which is a document that presents the strategies to be undertaken by the agencies, local government units, state universities and colleges, government corporations and government financial institutions to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and to make government more resilient to future medical emergencies.

The final agenda was a presentation of the Tourism Infrastructure Development Plan (TIDP) by Test Consultants, Inc.  who discussed a nationwide study commissioned by NEDA to identify infrastructure and utilities support for priority tourism areas, where the Province of Guimaras is a pilot area.  (MLBrotarlo/NEDA6)