Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua shared his key priorities with NEDA Regional Office VIII employees during his first official visit to the region on October 7, 2021.

In his opening message in a blended townhall session with the NEDA VIII staff, Chua spoke about his four priority initiatives for the remainder of his term to strengthen the agency’s foundation for the next administration. These include (1) smart infrastructure, (2) innovation, (3) regional equity, and (4) climate change.

According to Chua, NEDA should put emphasis on smart infrastructure to ensure that all programs and projects consider urban planning and land-use methodologies. He noted that through this, the proposed projects could truly improve the lives of the Filipinos.

Chua also elaborated that innovation is crucial for sustaining growth and achieving high-income status in the coming years.

On regional equity, Chua highlighted that he wanted to make the budget allocation process more data-driven and objective, with NEDA providing the necessary analytical underpinnings to measure the merits of a project. He added that poverty should be factored in when evaluating projects and allocating the budget in order to help push development in poorer regions.

Lastly, Chua emphasized that climate change needs to be placed at the heart of the development plans crafted by NEDA.

To achieve these, Chua urges the agency to focus on outcomes rather than outputs; directing its attention to whether the programs and projects NEDA endorses have the intended effect on the local community and the country rather than merely checking if the programs and projects were implemented or not. He encouraged NEDA not to work in silos, but rather to work together to achieve the desired results.

The Secretary also assured NEDA VIII that the NEDA Change Management Team is continuously reviewing the organizational structure and proactively giving inputs in the crafting of the NEDA bill to strengthen the agency’s capacity.

Visit to NEDA VIII

The meeting was not the only highlight of the Secretary’s two-day visit.

Prior to the meeting, Chua and Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla toured the NEDA VIII offices and met with NEDA VIII staff. The group also inspected the recently-finished maintenance and safety-upgrade works in the office, including office retiling, construction of PWD-friendly structures, and installation of storm shutters and fire sprinklers throughout the compound.

They capped off the day with a tree-planting ceremony where Chua, Sombilla, and Ms. Monica Tricia Rivera planted molave trees to mark their visit.

This is the first official visit to the region by Chua since his appointment as NEDA Secretary.

Article by:  Knulp Aseo, DRD/ Evangeline M. Paran, OIC-ARD
Photos by:  Knulp Aseo, DRD/ Judith Maris T. Guzman, FAD