Regional Development Council (RDC) – Private Sector Representatives (PSRs) from all over the country convened for the 11th RDC-PSR National Convention – Virtual Edition on 29-30 June 2020 to apprise themselves of the latest issues and developments related to the fight against COVID-19.

This year’s Convention, with the theme “Together. Moving. Forward: Harnessing the RDC-PSR’s Role in the New Normal,” highlights the need to harness the role of the private sector, especially the PSRs, in undertakings of the government in the new normal.

“We need to come up with a people-based development agenda…when we say people-based [development], it is not just the government but with the active participation of the private sector” noted RDC VIII Chairperson, Gov. Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla during his opening message. He stressed his belief that human resource is the greatest resource.

Key speakers in the convention included: Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President Benedicto V. Yujuico; NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua; Head for Administrative Support and Secretariat of Bagong Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa (BP2), Mgr. Marissa B. Maniquis; DTI Usec. Rafaelita M. Aldaba; and Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe. Discussions focused on highlighting opportunities and challenges in the new normal and enlightening the private sector, especially the PSRs, of the role they must play to ensure the strong economic recovery of the country post-pandemic.

In his keynote speech, PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico underscored the role the private sector plays in helping restart the economy in partnership with the public sector.

“Our country needs concerted effort from all stakeholders – government, private sector, labor, civil society and development partners for our economy to get back in shape. This is where those of us in strategic posts such as the Regional Development Council can contribute to make this happen,” said President Yujuico. “As private sector representative, you have an excellent understanding of the situation and what should be done to help address the crisis we are in now and take care of those unemployed – many of whom have been reduced to mendicancy. I urge you to take the lead in encouraging decisive action from your local and even from our national governments,” he added.

President Yujuico also shared PCCI’s experiences in partnering with government through programs and projects such as promotion of locally made goods and the extending financial assistance to affected MSMEs through low-interest loans, loan restructuring, and loan extension programs.

NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, meanwhile, presented the government’s PH-Progreso recovery program, noting that it aims to provide, “Inclusive, sustainable, and more balanced growth in the Philippines” post-pandemic.

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He also took the time to answer questions and gather suggestions from the PSRs on the economic prospects of the country post-pandemic.

The PSRs were also apprised of latest developments in the BP2 Program, challenges and opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FiRE), and the “Be a Volunteer” program of the PNVSCA.

The PSRs are expected to return from this virtual convention better aware of the challenges and opportunities for economic recovery and growth, and more conscious of their role in leading the private sector in the new normal.

Originally, this year’s Convention was slated to be conducted in Eastern Visayas but was moved to a virtual convention, a first for the RDC, in light of the restrictions on large gatherings because of the pandemic. The RDC VIII hosted the virtual conference.

Article by:  Knulp Aseo, NEDA VIII