The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) VIII officially launched the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan (EV RDP) 2023-2028 on 16 August 2023 at the Summit Hotel, Tacloban City.

During the launch the EV RDP was introduced to various stakeholders and gathered commitments from them in the hope of achieving the goals and targets of the Plan by 2028. #MabuligAko in Waray or #MutabangKo in Bisaya was also launched as the official call to action. The phrases both mean “I will help” in English.

Over 200 participants from around the country, representing international, national, and local stakeholders from the government, civil society, business sector, academe, media, and the youth attended the event and signed their individual commitments to help make the Plan a reality.

NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Carlos Bernardo O. Abad Santos, as the honored guest representing Secretay Arsenio M. Balisacan, reminded the participants that the work was only beginning.

“The completion of this Plan does not mark the end of our journey; it is merely the beginning of the crucial phase of translating strategies into action and continuously evaluating their effectiveness,” said Usec Abad Santos in his key message.

Presidential Management Staff Undersecretary Mark Roa Gimenez and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Country Director for the Philippines and Pacific Islands Immanuel Gebhardt shared their messages of commitment. Likewise, representatives from various sectors in the region also stated their commitments. Among them were RDC VIII Co-Chairperson Leo Christian V. Lauzon, Eastern Samar Vice-Governor Maricar Sison-Goteesan, Regional Gender and Development Committee VIII Co-Chairperson/GAD representative Paulina L. Nayra, Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining (PASAR) Corporation General Manager and President Werner Van Schalkwyk, PWD representative Philip Ting, PASUC VIII President and Visayas State University President Edgardo E. Tulin, and Youth representative Mr. John Paul E. De Guzman.

Meanwhile, the RDC VIII Chairperson and Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez committed to lead the Council in ensuring the members play their part in achieving the Plan targets.

“As Chairperson of the RDC VIII, I commit that each one of our members will do his/her part to ensure that the vision of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan 2023-2028 will become a reality. In my role leading the Council, I will ensure that we will not lose our drive or focus on bringing inclusive and sustainable development to the people of Eastern Visayas,” stated Chairperson Torres-Gomez.

In closing, NEDA VII Regional Director and RDC VIII Vice-chairperson Meylene C. Rosales emphasized the need for public action to spur regional development.

“Gone are the days when we think of the people only as recipients of development. They are more than that, for they are also the means to development. Development calls for a whole-of-society action,” said Director Rosales.

The launch ended with the participants vibrantly and happily shouting #MabuligAko! #MutabangKo! and #I will help! in unison.

Article by: Knulp D. Aseo, DRD Photos by: Judith Maris Guzman, FAD