The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Western Visayas observed the RDC Week during its Third Quarter Full Council Meeting on September 24, 2021 via Zoom.  It marked the occasion with a simple showing of an audio-visual presentation about the RDC and a video message of Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua was shown as part of the celebration.  In his message, Secretary Chua highlighted the important role of the RDCs in socio-economic development.

Presidential Proclamation No. 1164, issued on February 24, 1998, declares the fourth week of September of every year as RDC Week. It aims to commemorate the birth of the RDCs as the key structure for regional planning and integrated local planning and programming.

The RDCs, serving as the counterpart of the NEDA Board at the sub-national level, are tasked to review, prioritize, and endorse the different investment programs and projects of regional line agencies for funding and implementation to the national level.  Secretary Chua further said, “With the start of the full devolution of government functions in 2022, the role of RDCs in steering regional development becomes even more crucial. Before the ruling is implemented, the RDCs need to ensure a strong vertical link and convergence among national, regional, and international development priorities.  The newly created Regional Committee on Devolution will lead these efforts, in coordination with the other RDC sectoral committees.”

The RDC VI meeting was presided over by Co-Chairperson Ma. Luisa C. Segovia and attended by 100 representatives of Local Government Units (LGUs), Regional Line Agencies (RLAs), and the private sector.  In her opening message, Ms. Segovia expressed her gratitude for the active support of the members despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19.  She pointed out that the members’ presence is an indication of their wholehearted commitment to the RDC VI and Western Visayas.

Also during the meeting, Regional Director Adriano P. Suba-an of the Department of Health (DOH) VI presented the Status of COVID-19 Situation, Vaccination Activities, and CY 2022 Plans, Programs, and Activities (PPAs) in response to COVID-19 in the region. Three-day monitoring of oxygen consumption in hospitals revealed that there is a need for an average of 2,908 liters/day of medical grade oxygen and 1, 154 liters/day of liquid oxygen. If the region reaches Alert Level 3 or 4, the combined capacity of oxygen suppliers can no longer provide the needed oxygen per hospital. RD Suba-an also presented the PPAs included in the ways forward for 2022 in response to COVID-19. The strategies are Public Health Program Development, Health Facilities Enhancement Program, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance Program, Health Promotion Program, Human Resource for Health Deployment, Health Information System, and Supply and Logistics Management.

OIC-Regional Director Maria Laine L. Gayomali of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) VI reported the highlights of the first meeting of the Regional Committee on Devolution (ComDev). The ComDev added as members the presidents of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) of each province in the region. Almost all municipalities in Western Visayas already issued Executive Orders on the creation of Municipal ComDevs. Most of the RLAs’ Devolution Transition Plans (DTPs) are still being finalized at the central offices. The deadline for the NGAs to submit their DTPs is September 30, 2021.

The Council likewise approved several endorsements from the sector and special committees. The major ones are the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Program of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, the creation of a technical working group to address the issue on sludge disposal in Boracay Island, the Department of Transportation’s Full Development Plan for Antique Airport, the proposed mountain road linking and road concreting, and the approval and adoption of the Western Visayas Regional Development Report 2020.

OIC-Regional Director Meylene C. Rosales of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) VI, Council Vice-Chairperson and Regional Statistics Committee (RSC) VI Chairperson, presented the CYs 2021-2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) annual targets for the information and support of the Council. The SDG targets were endorsed by the RSC VI through a resolution.  Director Rosales said these targets may be amended considering the COVID-19 situation and the impact of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling. (VMHermanos/RDC VI)