A perfect attendance was garnered from the congresspersons of Eastern Visayas in the Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII-Advisory Committee (AdCom) meeting held on 29 May 2017 at the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City. All 12 congressional districts of the region were represented, with 10 congresspersons in personal attendance, and two represented by their respective Chiefs of Staff. Aside from the 10 solons, three party list representatives were also around. The meeting was convened by RDC VIII Chairperson and Mayor of Tacloban City, Hon. Cristina Gonzalez-Roumualdez, and co-convened by First Dirtsct Representative of Leyte, Hon. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez.

Personally present during the meeting were: 1) Hon. Romualdez, First District of Leyte; 2) Hon. Vicente S.E. Veloso, Third District of Leyte; 3) Hon. Lucy T. Gomez, Fourth District of Leyte; 4) Hon. Jose Carlos L. Cari, Fifth District of Leyte; 5) Hon. Roger G. Mercado, Lone District of Southern Leyte; 6) Hon. Rogelio J. Espina, Lone Disrict of Biliran; 7) Hon. Edgar Mary S. Sarmiento, First District of Samar; 8) Hon. Ben P. Evardone, Lone District of Eastern Samar; 9) Hon. Raul A. Daza, First District of Northern Samar; 10) Hon. Edwin C. Ong, Second District of Northern Samar. Also present was Aangat Tayo Party List Representative Hon. Harlin Neil Abayon III. Meanwhile, Hon. Henry C. Ong of the Second District of Leyte and Hon. Milagrosa T. Tan of the Second District of Samar were represented by their Chiefs of Staff. Likewise, Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Regional Directors and Managers of various national and regional line agencies, such as DOTr, DPWH, DBM, DA, DepEd, DILG, DOH, DOT, DSWD, DTI, NIA, and OCD also participated in the meeting.

The creation of the RDC VIII-AdCom is provided in Executive Order (EO) No. 325, s. 1996, “Reorganization of Regional Development Councils.” Based on the EO, the AdCom of Eastern Visayas shall be composed of members of the RDC VIII-executive Committee. Its main function is to advise, assist and support the Council in discharging its functions.

During the meeting, the RDC VIII-AdCom were one in supporting the Region VIII’s key priority programs and projects under the Regional Development Plan and Investment Program 2017-2022. Thse include: 1) Modernization of Tacloban Airport; 2) the Regional Transshipment Hub; 3) three inter-island link bridges; 4) Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone; 5) Regional Yolanda Remembrance and Learning Center; and 6) Establishment of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center Villaba Extension Hospital. Also tackled and endorsed were the FY 2018 budget proposals of key regional line agencies and state universities in Eastern Visayas.

In her message, the RDC VIII Chair and Tacloban City Mayor Romualdez thanked Congresswoman Romualdez for co-convening the meeting, and all congresspersons who personally attended, as well as those who sent their representatives to the meeting. She said that the active participation of the congresspersons in the RDC VIII-AdCom meeting is crucial in generating support and ensuring effective implementation of priority programs and projects for Eastern Visayas. She added that, the vision of Eastern Visayas, which is “A resilient and prosperous region where people enjoy equitable socioeconomic opportunities for and benefits of sustainable human development” is ambitious—but not impossible with unity and commitment converted into concrete action of all stakeholders in the region.