Palo, Leyte – The launching of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 and the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan (EV-RDP) 2017-2022 in Eastern Visayas was conducted on 10 November 2017. This included a motorcade in the streets of Tacloban City and Palo, symposium at The Oriental Hotel, Palo, Leyte, and exhibit at the Robinsons Place Tacloban, aimed at creating public awareness and solicit active participation and concrete action in attaining the PDP and EV-RDP development goals and outcomes, and ultimately realizing the Filipinos’ collective long-term vision of Matatag, Maginhawa, at Panatag na Buhay Para sa Lahat as embodied in the AmBisyon Natin 2040.

The PDP and the EV-RDP are anchored on the Duterte Administration’s 0 to 10 socioeconomic agenda and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which serve as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

In the Keynote speech of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, as delivered by NEDA-Development Information Staff Director Nerrisa T. Esguerra during the symposium, the Secretary emphasized the critical role of the country’s national vision as a guide for all sectors in the region to work together in making Eastern Visayas a valuable player in transforming the country into an inclusive and globally-competitive economy. He also highlighted the need for us to work towards common goals and the need to address emerging challenges without losing sight of the country’s long term goals. He further stressed that “the support of our local government units, institutions and private organizations is essential in translating our vision into action for us to ultimately see and feel the results”.

During the symposium, the Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII Chairperson and Tacloban City Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez said that the two plans are critical because they capture in written words the dreams and aspirations of the Filipinos and the people of Eastern Visayas. She added that the EV-RDP offers hope that by the year 2022, Eastern Visayas will have a robust and sustained economic growth and reduced poverty and inequality in all dimensions. “If we altogether maintain [the] enthusiasm, we will catapult Eastern Visayas into a progressive and resilient region”, she stressed.

The EV-RDP identified the Agriculture and Fishery sector, Manufacturing Subsector and Tourism sector as the major growth drivers in Region VIII owing to their potentials in generating income and employment opportunities in the region. Thus, three highly experienced speakers from the government and private sectors shared their expertise and insights in transcending development challenges along these sectors, which offered clear definition of success stories and conceivably stirred continued hope and commitment of action among stakeholders in the region. These were: Philippine Coconut Authority Regional Manager Joel Pilapil on The Status of Coconut Industry in Eastern Visayas; Sr. Vice-President for Legal and Corporate Affairs, Atty. Manuel R. Del Rosario of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR) on PASAR: Supporting the Philippines’ Industrialization Through Copper Smelting and Refining, and Samar Governor Sharee Ann T. de los Santos on Spark Samar: Tourism as One of the Growth Drivers of the EV-RDP.

The launching, which was also part of the PDP Roadshow nationwide, was graced by around 300 regional directors, heads, local chief executives, presidents, and representatives from the regional line agencies, local government units, private sector, civil society organizations, state universities and colleges in the region, media, among others.