Other Government Release

Regional Development Councils rally behind Marcos administration’s leadership in boosting inclusive growth and development.

MANILA – In a resounding show of support, the Regional Development Councils (RDC) from across the country expressed their gratitude to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., for his unwavering support and push for inclusive growth and development in the regions.

Last April 30, the RDC Chairpersons and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) met with President Marcos to discuss various regional development initiatives aligned with the strategies contained in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 and Regional Development Plans.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan emphasized that the President’s support opens up significant opportunities for strategic prioritization of regional investments and budget allocation.

“The importance that the President placed on the RDCs has inspired our Chairpersons to actively lead in the many regional development efforts across the country. RDCs play a vital role in steering socioeconomic development at the regional and local level by bridging the gap between national agencies and local government units,” Balisacan said.

During the meeting, the RDCs advocated for the issuance of an executive order (EO) that will further empower them in their mission. NEDA presented the proposal for the issuance of an EO that aims to strengthen the RDCs’ role in formulating regional development plans and investment programs, reviewing agency budgets, monitoring project implementation, and addressing bottlenecks.

This proposed amendment seeks to build upon the foundation laid by EO 325 (s. 1996) by addressing some of the perceived weaknesses of the RDCs. These include their limited presence in the local government units (LGU), their restricted influence in the funding of priority regional programs and projects, and the lack of budget to support RDC operations, including monitoring and capacity-building activities.

“With these amendments, the RDCs will be given the mandate to identify priority inter-LGU and special development projects and further pursue capacity-building activities at the local level,” stated the government’s chief economic planner.

Moreover, Balisacan underscored that the passage of this EO will also complement the NEDA’s ongoing regional development efforts. These initiatives include the Regional-National Investment Programming (RNIP) dialogues, capacity-building activities for monitoring and evaluation, the conduct of studies to effectively implement the full devolution initiative, and the approval of game-changing Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) and public-private partnership projects (PPPs), among others. These efforts align well with the Marcos Administration’s goal of achieving inclusivity, as articulated in the PDP 2023-2028 and the RDPs 2023-2028.

During the meeting, the RDC chairpersons also presented their proposed priority programs and projects in their respective regions for inclusion in the 2025 and 2026 budgets of the concerned implementing agencies.

“With even brighter economic prospects on our country’s horizon, it is indeed high time that we strengthen the mandate of our RDCs to make them more effective at serving as the highest policymaking and coordinating body in our regions. They will also play a crucial role as we approach the operationalization of the full devolution process,” Balisacan said.

The RDC serves as the counterpart of the NEDA Board at the sub-national level. It is the primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction of all economic and social development efforts in the region. It also serves as a forum where local efforts can be harmonized and integrated with regional and national development activities.

The RDC chairpersons present in the meeting were:Apayao Gov. Elias C. Bulut Jr., Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc, Isabela Gov. Rodolfo T. Albano, Tarlac Gov. Susan A. Yap, Batangas Gov. Hermilando I. Mandanas, Romblon Gov. Jose R. Riano, Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo B. Benitez, Bohol Gov. Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado, Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez, Zamboanga City Mayor John M. Dalipe, Lanao del Norte Gov. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, Davao Oriental Gov. Niño Sotero L. Uy, Jr., Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, and Dinagat Islands Gov. Nilo P. Demerey, Jr.