The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII once again gathered the Provincial, City and Municipal Planning and Development Coordinators in the region in a forum with the theme “RDC VIII and Local Planners: Sharing Visions, Generating Solutions, and Harmonizing Actions” on 25-26 September 2018 at the Summit Hotel, Tacloban City. The Forum was one of the major activities for the 2018 RDC Week celebration. The celebration is pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1164, Series of 1998, declaring every 4th Week of September as RDC Week.

Said Forum is already the 5th one conducted by the RDC VIII in recognition of the vital role of local planners as the RDC VIII’s partners in the implementation and monitoring of national policies, plans, programs and projects at the local level.

In Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia’s keynote message, delivered by NEDA Assistant Secretary for Regional Development, Mercedita M. Sombilla, he congratulated RDC VIII for organizing the Forum, which he viewed as an opportunity to re-establish connections and strengthen linkages as all stakeholders work towards a common pursuit of a better life for all Filipinos, particularly in terms of increasing employment and reducing poverty. His message also stressed that the Forum provides local planners a venue to discuss with the RDC VIII current issues and trends on development planning and be updated with new relevant policies.

In her message, RDC VIII Chairperson and Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez also lauded the RDC VIII and the local planners for working side by side in spearheading development at the local and regional levels.

Topics discussed during the Forum were: 1) Proposed Constitution of the Federal Republic by Former Associate Justice of Supreme Court, Member of Consultative Committee (ConCom), and Chairperson, ConCom Subcomittee on Structure of the Federal Government, Hon. Antonio Eduardo Bermejo Nachura; 2) The Local Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program: Policy Planning and Implementation Imperatives by PPP Center Deputy Executive Director, Eleazar E. Ricote; 3) Designing Sustainable and Resilient Cities and Towns by UN Habitat Project Manager for Resilient Urban Planning and Design, Mr. Reinero M. Flores; and 4) Department of Agriculture’s Achievements and Directions by DA Assistant Secretary for the Visayas and for Regulations, Atty. Hansel O. Didulo. Panel of reactors came from both private and public sectors, including the academe. The Forum was participated in by 97 local planners of Eastern Visayas, representing 68 percent of the total number.

Other activities for the RDC VIII Week celebration included a motorcade and press conference to drumbeat public awareness about the RDC VIII and the occasion, and inauguration of the newly renovated RDC VIII Conference Halls at the NEDA Regional Office VIII Building on 24 September, and exhibit on RDC VIII on 25-26 September.

Article by Meliza Y. Bacolbas, DRD, NEDA VIII