The Regional Development Council marked another milestone last August 28, 2020 when it convened the first online Regional Advisory Committee meeting through teleconferencing which brought in one forum the RDC ExCom members, the Congressional Representatives of Western Visayas, representatives of agency central offices and other regional line agencies. Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda of the Lone District of Antique and Congressman Francisco “Kiko”  Benitez of the 3rd District of Negros Occidental were this year’s Lead Convenors who ensured the personal participation of 12 out of 19 congressional representatives.  All in all, some 115  participants joined the meeting.

Secretary Wendel E. Avisado of the Department of Budget and Management personally attended the meeting to present the priorities of the National Expenditure for CY 2021 and the allocation given to Western Visayas.     Secretary Avisado intimated that RDC-VI is the first body where he shared the presentation.  He was joined by ASec Kim Robert de Leon.

Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon of the NEDA presented RECHARGE.PH., which seeks to refocus, sharpen the design, and accelerate the implementation of programs under the 2020 general appropriations to mitigate the negative and constraining impact of COVID-19 and help the Philippines recover following the sharp contraction in the 2nd quarter GDP that plunged the country into recession. will focus on engaging all of society in the fight against COVID19 while expanding economic opportunities, improving the capability of Filipinos to adapt under the new normal, and ensuring people-centered, clean, technology-enabled, and responsive governance even during the pandemic.

The Regional Advisory Committee was created by virtue of EO 325 to allow members of the House of Representatives of the region to interact with the members of the RDC Executive Committee.  Its main function is to advise, assist and support the Council in discharging its functions.  This particular meeting was an occasion for the congressional representatives to raise issues and concerns that are affecting their respective districts.  On hand to respond to these were top officials of departments and regional offices who provided solutions, who clarified and gave assurances of the legislators on what the agency was doing to remove bottlenecks that are slowing the growth and development of the districts.

RD Ro-Ann A. Bacal presented the final version of the COVID-19 Regional Recovery Plan, 2020-2022 highlighting the Regional Recovery Framework that prescribes the necessary policies, support systems and strategies for government to better respond and be more resilient during times of health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and for Western Visayas to be able to adjust to the new normal. It includes programs and projects that will operationalize the identified strategies.

The updated Regional Development Investment Program (RDIP), 2020-2022 was presented by Engr. Gilberto A. Altura of the NEDA6 Project Development, Investment Programming, and Budget Division, who enumerated the priority projects of each of the 19 Congressional Districts.

RDC VI Chairperson Rhodora J. Cadiao expressed her profuse thanks to all the participants and stressed that, while these are the most uncertain times, history will judge the RDC ExCom members and the Congressional Representatives  by the decisions they make and the actions they take now. (YGBatacandolo/NEDA 6)