The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII approved the Regional Development Report (RDR) 2020 during its Second Quarter Full Council Meeting on 8 July 2021 via Zoom.

The annual report showed that the region missed most of its targets in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent closures of businesses and slowdown of commerce in Eastern Visayas. Despite the gloomy situation, the region was able to exceed its targets in peace and order as well as good governance despite the challenges brought by the lockdowns.

The document serves as an assessment of the region’s socioeconomic performance in the past year in relation to the goals and targets set in the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 – Midterm Update. The full report is currently being finalized and will be published in the NEDA VIII website in the coming weeks.

Aside from the RDR, the Council approved the creation of the Eastern Visayas Regional Special Committee on Devolution (ComDev) patterned after the National ComDev, with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) VIII as Chairperson and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) VIII as Co-Chairperson.

The Special Committee will oversee and facilitate the full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to the local government units (LGUs) as directed by Executive Order No. 138 entitled, “Full Devolution of Certain Functions of the Executive Branch to Local Governments, Creation of a Committee on Devolution, and for Other Purposes.” It aims to ensure the continuous delivery of public services by the Regional Line Agencies (RLAs) and LGUs as the country goes through the devolution process.

Also endorsed, were over thirty different sectoral concerns of the RDC VIII-Sectoral Committee (SecCom) that were raised during the Sectoral Committee meetings in June and early-July; as well as the Samar Peace and Prosperity Roadmap of the Province of Samar which aim to achieve just and lasting peace in the province through equitable and sustainable development.

The RDC VIII was also apprised of the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination program in the region by representatives from the Department of Health (DOH) 8, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 8, and the DILG 8.

Members of the RDC VIII encouraged the three agencies to speed up their efforts to vaccinate the population and offered the help of the Council to facilitate any issues they may face.

The meeting was presided over by RDC VIII Chairperson and Leyte Provincial Governor Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla who highlighted the unequal development of the region’s provinces. He enjoined the body to prioritize poorer areas of the region to close the distribution of wealth and ensure that the region progresses together.

Meanwhile, RDC VIII Co-Chairperson and Private Sector Representative for Mass Media Luisita J. Quebec reiterated the need for all members of the body, both Regional Line Agencies (RLAs) and Local Government Units (LGUs), to respect institutions and processes to ensure that the region’s efforts will not face obstacles because it took shortcuts.

Article and Photos by:  Knulp Aseo