The Regional Development Council VIII – Advisory Committee (RDC VIII-AdCom) endorsed the major programs and projects (PPs) for Eastern Visayas for inclusion in the FY 2019 agency budget proposals. The endorsement came during its meeting held on February 27 at the Montilla Hall, Southwing Annex, House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City.

During the meeting, 13 major PPs for Eastern Visayas next year were presented. These mainly consist of infrastructure projects seen to address perennial problems in the region, such as flooding and inadequate water supply. These were culled out from the long list of over 2,000 priority programs and projects worth PhP118.19 billion for FY 2019, previously reviewed and endorsed by the RDC VIII. In particular, the 13 major PPs are: 1) Feasibility Study (FS) and Master Plan, and Construction of a Flood Control System of Tacloban City, 2) FS for the Binahaan River Flood Control, 3) Project on Storm Surge Protection: Road Heightening and Tide Embankment for Tacloban-Palo-Tanauan, 4) Inter-Island Link Bridges (Luzon-Samar, Leyte-Surigao, Bohol-Leyte), 5) FS on the Proposed Janbatas Bridge (second San Juanico Bridge), 6) Convergence and Special Support Roads Program, 7) Daram Circumferential Road with Bridge and Daram-Talalora Bridge, 8) Priority Airport Development Projects in Eastern Visayas, 9) Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) Extension in Villaba, Leyte, 10) Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (LEIZ), 11) Eastern Visayas Yolanda Remembrance and Learning Center, 12) Comprehensive Master Plan for Ormoc City Waterworks System, and 13) Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA).

The RDC VIII-AdCom also endorsed other PPs proposed and development initiatives presented during the meeting. These are: 1) Eastern Visayas Peace and Prosperity Roadmap, 2) Palo Diversion Road (Brgys. Candahug, Pawing, and Campetic, Palo, Leyte), including Construction of Flood Control and Drainage System, and the 4) FY 2019 Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure Projects for Eastern Visayas, inclusive of upgrading of airports and seaports, among others.

The priority PPs for the region are aligned with the priority thrusts espoused under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 and the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2022, both anchored on the 0 to 10 Point Socioeconomic Agenda of the Duterte Administration.

The meeting was convened by the RDC VIII Chairperson and Tacloban City Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez (represented by RDC VIII Co-Chairperson and Private Sector Representative for Agribusiness, Atty. Roy Bernard C. Fiel, as the presiding officer) and co-convened by Congresswoman Yedda Marie K. Romualdez of the First District of Leyte (represented by Hon. Vicente S.E. Veloso of the Third District of Leyte). It was attended by the Congresspersons of the region, and heads and representatives of national line agencies.

In his message as the presiding officer, RDC VIII Co-Chairperson Fiel extended his gratitude to the Committee members for their presence and support. He also underscored the need for and importance of stronger collaboration. “On behalf of the private sector representatives of Eastern Visayas, we take this shift in roles as a strong indication that the government has really taken seriously in its commitment to put the common tao at the center of every development. The private sector of Eastern Visayas believes that closer coordination with the government will greatly help alleviate poverty in the region,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, in her message, NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development, USec. Adoracion M. Navarro, underscored the development potentials of the region and emphasized the critical role of the RDC in shepherding the implementation of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2022. She assured the body that the NEDA will provide the necessary technical assistance to the RDC in its initiatives towards the attainment of the regional goals.

Composed of the members of the House of Representatives and the RDC VIII-Executive Committee, the RDC VIII-AdCom is tasked to advise, assist and support the RDC VIII in discharging its functions. The creation of the AdCom is provided for under Section 8 of the Executive Order No. 325, Series of 1996, entitled Reorganization of Regional Development Councils.

Jensen D. Rico, DRD, NEDA VIII