The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII participated in the 9th RDC PSRs NatCon held on 22-25 May 2018 at the Greenleaf Hotel, General Santos City, with the theme “Peace and Development Through Better Governance”. Said activity was hosted by the RDC XII.

The RDC VIII delegates were composed of five (5) RDC VIII PSRs, representing the following sectors: (a) Atty. Roy Bernard C. Fiel — RDC VIII Co-Chairperson and PSR for Agribusiness Sector; (b) Mr. Tiburcio A. Morales, Jr. — RDC VIII-Development Administration Committee (DAC) Co-Chairperson and PSR for Development Administration Sector; (c) Dr. Edmundo F. Gariando — RDC VIII-Social Development Committee (SDC) Co-Chairperson and PSR for Academe Sector; (d) Mr. Reynaldo A. Franco — Tourism Sector; and (e) Mrs. Elnora O. Argota — Health Sector. Together with the RDC VIII PSRs was the RDC VIII Secretariat headed by NEDA VIII Regional Director Atty. Bonifacio G. Uy.

A total of 15 RDCs representing all regions in the country joined the NatCon. As part of the opening ceremony, there was a parade of the RDCs with their respective RDC banners.

RDC XII Chairperson and General Santos City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera welcomed the 9th NatCon delegates, and expressed hope that through the NatCon, delegates will appreciate and understand the role and responsibilities of the RDCs.

A plaque of appreciation was awarded to RDC VII for hosting the previous NatCon held in Bohol. The succeeding NatCon will be hosted by RDC IV-B (2019) and RDC VIII (2020).

Topics presented during the 9th NatCon were the following: (1) Role of PSRs in Peace and Development; (2) Region XII and its Development Stories; (3) Barrier-Free Tourism; (4) An Overview of the Proposed Philippine Federal Model; (5) The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL); (6) The State of Philippine Agriculture: Peace and Food Security; and (7) Peace and Security in the Country: The Mindanao Context.

The guest speakers were NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion M. Navarro who expressed her hope that delegates will be able to reflect as to how they can better contribute towards achieving the development goals of their respective regions, and Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana who provided updates on the peace and security situation in Mindanao.

RDC VIII Co-Chairperson Fiel and Vice-Chairperson Uy were also able to discuss with Secretary Lorenzana in a side meeting some important issues regarding the implementation of Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) projects in Eastern Visayas. The main agreement during the meeting is to support the transfer of implementation of unimplemented and terminated PAMANA projects to the Department of National Defense (DND), specifically the Engineering Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The 9th NatCon Lead Convenor, PSR Richlie Lyndon L. Magtulis, stated that PSRs are the voice of the people and the partners of government in providing services towards development.

The rich culture of General Santos City and other areas in Mindanao were also showcased during the entire duration of the NatCon through sing and dance presentations, local cuisine, and tour.

Karen M. Reduban, DRD, NEDA VIII