Assistant Secretary Greg L. Pineda of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) – Regional Development Group (RDG) provided vital guidance to the secretariat of the NEDA Board – Regional Development Committee Visayas Area Committee (NB-RDCom VAC) during its Secretariat-Level Assessment and Planning Session held on 21 April 2022 at the Paradise Garden Resort Hotel and Convention Center, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan.
Emphasizing that “we cannot give what we do not have,” Asec. Pineda pushed for organizational development and the upskilling of NEDAns, particularly on physical planning, GIS, input-output modeling, and futures thinking. He envisaged the updating of the Regional Physical Framework Plans and validation of the current hierarchy of settlements using the central place theory, among others.
Emphasizing that “we cannot give what we do not have,” Asec. Pineda pushed for organizational development and the upskilling of NEDAns, particularly on physical planning, GIS, input-output modeling, and futures thinking. He envisaged the updating of the Regional Physical Framework Plans and validation of the current hierarchy of settlements using the central place theory, among others. In her video message, Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla of the NEDA – RDG underscored the 10-point policy agenda enumerated in Executive Order (EO) No. 166, s. 2022. She also stressed the need for the NB-RDCom VAC to harness its collaboration with regional line agencies and LGUs to ensure proper integration of plans and programs and improve the distribution of regional infrastructure budgets across regions. Moreover, Usec. Sombillla highlighted the role of smart infrastructure, innovation, regional equity, and climate change in development planning.
RD Dionisio C. Ledres, Jr. of the NEDA Cagayan Valley was also present to share some best practices of the NB-RDCom Luzon Area Committee that could be replicated in the VAC. Among these include the creation of technical working groups or sub-committees which conduct completed staff work on issues needing deeper analysis.
Moreover, the three Visayas NRO Regional Directors, who serve as Regional Development Council (RDC) Vice-Chairpersons, shared their thoughts on the directions of the VAC in the near term.
RD Meylene C. Rosales of NRO VI recommended the adoption of sub-committees in the VAC and expressed the brotherhood concept among the regions.
RD Efren B. Carreon of NRO VII suggested for the VAC to focus on inter-island connectivity and resiliency that will result in economic development and equity. He also proposed to revisit the actions to the VAC resolutions and check their relevance to the Visayas Spatial Development Framework.
Meanwhile, RD Bonifacio G. Uy of NRO VIII reiterated the suggestion of Asec. Pineda for the regions to have a unified stand on budget prioritization to have a better leverage at the national level.
The said session culminated with project visits on the following day to the rehabilitated Boracay forestland and wetlands, as well as the constructed flood control facility or pumping station along Bolabog Beach.
Created through EO No. 257, s. 2003, the NB-RDCom VAC is composed of the Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of the RDCs VI, VII and VIII. It coordinates and integrates regional development efforts and promotes cross-regional concerns in the Visayas.
Article by: Rommel Rodrigo D. Ceblano, Maria Veda G. Eslopor, and Geselle Frances P. Zeta/NRO VIII-PFPD
Photos by: Ronie A. Demonteverde/NRO VI-DRD