The NEDA Board Regional Development Committee (RDCOM) for the Visayas, composed of the chairpersons, co-chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the Regional Development Councils of Western Visayas (RDC-VI), Central Visayas (RDC-VII) and Eastern Visayas (RDC VIII) elected RDC-VI Chairperson Rhodora J. Cadiao, Governor of the Province of Antique, as its new chairperson in its meeting held at the Seda Atria Hotel, Iloilo City on August 25, 2017.  Elected as co-chairperson was Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue, world-renowned furniture entrepreneur from Cebu City, who is currently the RDC-VII Co-Chairperson representing the private sector.

NEDA Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla and Assistant Secretary Jonji Y. Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas  attended the meeting and provided valuable comments and inputs, along with RDC-VIII Co-Chairperson Atty. Roy Bernard Fiel, the RDC Vice-Chairpersons:  RD Ro-Ann A. Bacal of NEDA-VI, RD Efren Carreon of NEDA VII, RD Bonifacio Uy of NEDA VIII; and assistant regional directors along with NEDA staff from the three regions.

In her message, RDC-VI Chairperson Cadiao welcomed the members and guests to Iloilo City. She accepted the responsibility as head of the RDCom Visayas emphasizing the need for all to be united in purpose and calling the regions to help resolve developmental issues that are commonly being experienced in the most fragmented area of the country.

Major agenda tackled during the meeting include the conduct of feasibility study on the proposed Inter-Island Link Bridges in the Visayas, power connectivity and plans for increasing air and sea transport connectivity within the Visayas regions and with other parts of the country.  Engr. Rafael S. Lavides from the Department of Transportation and Director Antonio E. Labios of the Department of Energy shared upcoming and future projects that will improve the connectivity of the Visayas islands thru air and sea transport, as well as, thru connectivity of grids that will allow access to excess power from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Guest resource persons from the Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Juan Aviation, Inc., 2Go and Fast Craft briefed the members on their expansion plans and value-adding services.  The interconnectivity programs and projects in the region, in collaboration with the development partners in the private sector, will further strengthen relationships, spur economic growth through the provision of better roads and bridges, provide alternate mode of transportation that will result to a healthier tourism industry among the three Visayas regions.

The Visayas regions have a combined land area of 59,934.1 square kilometers or 19.4 percent of the country’s total. By administrative division, the whole Visayas group of islands is composed of 16 provinces, 39 cities and 369 municipalities.

Governor Cadiao is the first governor from Western Visayas to have been selected to head this Visayas-wide body.  She vowed to pursue the “One Visayas” vision which promotes the common development agenda such as power interconnectivity and intermodal transport network for the Visayas Area.

As the Chairperson of the RDCom Visayas, she will preside the quarterly meetings of the committee and represent the Visayas Area during the NEDA Board Regional Development Committee meetings.  (DRD)