The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII recognized the two winners of the 2021 Search for Outstanding COVID-19 Volunteers during its Fourth Quarter 2021 Full Council Meeting on 10 December 2021, via Zoom.

The CPR-RIMT Rapid Rescue Rider Ormoc Chapter was awarded the Most Outstanding Organization COVID-19 Volunteer. During the pandemic, the CPR-RIMT Rapid Rescue Rider Ormoc Chapter provided access to medicines and financial services to vulnerable sectors who were affected by COVID-19 lockdowns and border and/or quarantine protocols. They also provided a rapid response to road accidents, sea mishaps, and similar incidents and helped in the evacuation of vulnerable families affected by floods during storms and other natural calamities.

Meanwhile, for the second year in a row Mr. Niño Archie S. Labordo was recognized as the region’s Most Outstanding COVID-19 Volunteer. Mr. Labordo continued his volunteering works from the previous year. He initiated new initiatives in 2021 such as establishing Toy Libraries in several elementary schools in Leyte which helped provide young students with psychosocial activities during the pandemic. He also initiated the MOTIVESKUWELA, as project organizer and coordinator, during the Brigada Eskuela 2021 in Licod Elementary School, Jaro, and Jones Elementary School, Pastrana, both in Leyte.

During the meeting, the Council also tackled various development concerns, including the approval of the proposed guidelines for drafting of the successor Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan 2023-2028; approval of the proposed FY 20222 RDC VIII Work and Financial Plan; endorsement of various RDC VIII Sectoral Committee and Affiliate Concerns; and presentation of reports on the accomplishments of the RDC VIII-Regional Committee on Devolution (ComDev) and the RDC VIII-Regional Interagency Task Force on Planning and Budgeting (RIATF-PB).

Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) VIII presented its recommendations to improve the region’s budget utilization rate (BUR) during the Fourth Quarter 2021 RDC VIIII Full Council Meeting on 10 December 2021.

The recommendations came as the DBM VIII reported to the Council that regional agencies’ obligation utilization rate which stood at 77.23% while its disbursement utilization rate stood at 74.42%.

The lower disbursement utilization rate compared to the obligation utilization rate shows that while agencies were able to use their appropriations, they were not able to translate them into actual deliverables so that no payment have been made to contractors yet.

Obligations are liabilities committed to be paid for by the government either immediately or in the future, while disbursements refer to the actual withdrawal of cash for payment.

Recommendations made by the DBM VIII included encouraging agencies to ensure projects are implementation-ready upon proposal, closely monitoring project implementation, and prioritizing use of continuing appropriations, among many others.

The RDC VIII committed to provide assistance to agencies to help them address issues and challenges they face in implementing projects.

Article and Photos by: Knulp Aseo, DRD