President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has appointed Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez as the new Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII Chairperson for the 2022-2025 term of office. Alongside her as Co-Chairperson is the RDC VIII Private Sector Representative (PSR) for Persons with Special Concerns (Women, Youth, Children, PWDs, Senior Citizens), Leo Christian V. Lauzon. The appointment was signed by the President on 19 October 2022.
Prior to Chairperson Torres-Gomez’s mayoralty, she served as the Leyte Fourth District Representative from 2010 to 2022. Among the district highlights during her stint as congresswoman were the rehabilitation of the Ormoc City Airport, the provision of COVID-19 economic aid via the TUPAD Program and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the implementation of countryside development infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, under her administration as city mayor, Ormoc City successfully merged 28 barangays into three divisions in a plebiscite on 08 October 2022. The merger aims to optimize the efficiency and efficacy of governance and the delivery of basic services in the locality.
Co-Chairperson Lauzon is a gender and development (GAD) consultant and a certified member of the Philippine Commission on Women – National GAD Resource Pool since 2018. He is also the president of Kabataan San Sidlangan, Inc., one of the leading organizations of young active citizens in the region.
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 325, s. 1996, otherwise known as the Reorganization of the Regional Development Councils, the functions of the RDC Chairperson and Co-Chairperson are as follows:
- preside over the Council meetings;
- direct members, affiliate committees, and regional line agencies to perform tasks the Council may deem necessary;
- direct the formulation of a comprehensive regional development plan and preparation of a system of investment programming priorities for the region;
- supervise the monitoring of the implementation of major inter-provincial and region-wide development programs, projects, and activities; and
- represent the region in Cabinet meetings and other activities at the national level.
The RDC VIII is the highest policy-making body in Eastern Visayas and is the primary institution that sets and coordinates the direction of all economic and social development efforts in the region.