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Eastern Samar Governor Marcelo Ferdinand A. Picardal and Western Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan-De Los Santos have joined hands during the workshop on the formulation of the Samar Island Development Agenda (SIDA) aimed at accelerating the socioeconomic development of Samar Island. The consultative workshop, held on May 10-11, 2018 in Catbalogan City, was in line with the Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII’s relentless efforts to address the high poverty incidence and other pressing development issues, challenges and constraints in the three Samar provinces.

In his message, Governor Picardal conveyed his optimism that with the concerted action of local and national government agencies, as well as various development partners, the lives of all Samareños will ultimately improve and significantly contribute to the overall growth of Eastern Visayas. He also urged all the participants to continue working together for the development of the whole Samar Island.

Governor Tan-De Los Santos on the other hand, pointed out the significance of the activity. She said that the SIDA will provide a better understanding of the underlying causes behind the various development issues hounding the Samar Island and layout specific and practical recommendations on how to resolve them. She also expressed her delight to see the three provinces united in one venue to plan for the entire island of Samar.

Northern Samar Governor Jose L. Ong, Jr. could not make it due to a prior commitment, but manifested strong support to the undertaking through his message delivered by Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator (PPDC) Romeo M. Cardenas.

Meanwhile, NEDA VIII RD Bonifacio G. Uy thanked the three governors for their unwavering support in implementing the RDC VIII directive and the area-planning initiative of NEDA VIII. He mentioned that this is the second island-wide plan for the Samar Island after the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) Roadmap. RD Uy emphasized the need to undertake utmost efforts to ensure that the Samar Island will not be left behind in the attainment of the targets in the medium-term Plan and Ambisyon Natin 2040.

The activity was participated in by key provincial and city personnel from the entire island of Samar. Others present were technical staff from selected regional line agencies and key stakeholders from the business, academe, and religious sectors.

Article by Hiyasmin Batan-Martillo, PFPD, NEDA