The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII-Executive Committee (ExCom) endorsed PhP108.71 billion worth of priority programs and projects from the reprioritized budget proposals of 37 agency regional offices (AROs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) from across the region during the emergency virtual ExCom Meeting on 01 June 2020.

The infrastructure and utilities sector accounted for the bulk of the endorsed projects at PhP92.79 billion, followed by the social development sector (PhP7.44 billion), economic development sector (PhP6.33 billion), and development administration sector (PhP2.23 billion).

The meeting cum budget hearing was prompted by Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) National Budget Memorandum (NBM) Nos. 136 and 137 which called for the review and reprioritization of the FY 2021 budget towards containing the spread and mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 virus.

The Council also approved the list of COVID-19 projects submitted by five local government units (LGUs) who qualified to utilize the funds from Region VIII’s share under Energy Regulation (ER) 1-94. The LGUs signified their intent to avail of the fund and passed the criteria approved during the Virtual Executive Committee Meeting on 22 May.

The fund comes from the regional share of ER-194 which provides financial benefits for communities at the barangay, municipal/city, provincial, and regional levels hosting energy generating facilities. Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) allowed the utilization of these funds to support the LGUs in fighting the pandemic. Following the approval, an ExCom resolution endorsing the release of funds to these LGUs had been submitted to the DOE.

Article and Photos by:  Knulp Aseo, NEDA VIII