The Regional Development Council (RDC) is the highest policy-making body in the region and serves as the counterpart of the NEDA Board at the subnational level. The RDC is the primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction of all economic and social development efforts in the region. It also serves as a forum where local efforts can be related and integrated with national development activities.

The RDC was created in answer to the need for a single regional planning body whose main concern is overall socio-economic development of the region. Regional development planning is necessary to address the uneven economic and socio development of the country. This stems from the recognition that the economic and social gains achieved so far have been unevenly distributed such that much of the progress has been concentrated in a few regions.

The RDC was established by virtue of Letter of Implementation No. 22 issued on 31 December 1972 pursuant to the implementation of the Integrated Reorganization Plan of 1972. Its present constitutional foundation rests on Article X, Section 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which states that:

“The President shall provide for regional development councils, or other similar bodies composed of local government officials, regional heads of departments and other offices, and representatives from non-government organizations within the region for purposes of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy of units therein and to accelerate the economic and social development of the units in the region.”

To carry out this provision, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order 308 on November 5, 1987 which reorganized the RDC. Subsequent amendments include Eos 318 (s. 1988), 347 and 366 (s. 1989), 455 (s. 1991) and 505 (s. 1992). On April 12, 1996, the foregoing EOs was repealed with the issuance of EO 325 signed by President Fidel V. Ramos. This latest issuance further strengthened the RDCs to make it more responsive to new development in socio-political fields and ensure sustainable and broad-based development process.