From top left clockwise: Luzon RDCom Chairperson Governor Hermilando Mandanas of RDC CALABARZON, Mayor Juan Carlo Medina of RDC I, Governor Maria Jocelyn Bernos of RDC CAR, Mayor Noel Rosal of RDC V, Governor Jose Riano of RDC MIMAROPA, NEDA Region IV-A Director Luis G. Banua, Co-Chair Blessida Diwa of RDC II, and Co-Chair Reynato Arimbuyutan of RDC III.

The Luzon Regional Development Committee (RDCom) during its 2nd 2020 meeting on September 16, 2020 approved its priority agenda for 2020 to 2022.

The priority agenda which was presented by NEDA Region IV-A ARD Gina T. Gacusan consisted of the following: a) benefits of host regions from the Energy Regulation Fund 1-94; b) interconnectivity between and among regions; c) airport development; d) US bases for tourism; e) agricultural product development/innovation; f) farm tourism development; g) water benefits to host communities; h) strengthening of local autonomy; i) regional cooperation for supply chain resiliency and connectivity in Luzon Regions; j) programs for Overseas Filipino Workers and Overseas Filipinos; k) Rice Tariffication Law effects to farmers in Luzon; and l) National Broadband Plan for local government units (LGUs).

In strengthening local autonomy, Luzon RDCom and RDC CALABARZON Chairperson Gov. Hermilando I. Mandanas said, “The full implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision on the local government’s share in the national taxes will strengthen local autonomy. As stated in the Constitution, the just share of local government in national taxes will provide for a more effective, efficient, expedient and economical delivery of basic services for countrymen”. He stressed the role of the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) in the proper implementation of the increase in Internal Revenue Allotment and in the operationalization of the Bayanihan Grant to provinces. He added that the RDC is mandated by the Constitution to undertake the function and preserve and promote local autonomy.

As the discussion was on the expected increase in IRA, Dir. John Aries Macaspac of the Department of Budget and Management was invited to give updates on the amount to be received by LGUs and the Devolution Transition Plan.

The Committee passed a resolution requesting the national government to expedite the implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the just share of local governments from the national taxes.

On the other priority agenda, RDC V Chairperson and Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal requested to include under the interconnectivity agenda the completion of the ongoing construction of the Bicol International Airport which has long been delayed. “Isa ito sa mga important nating interconnectivity dito sa Bicol. This airport will be a game changer”, said Mayor Rosal. Mayor Rosal believes that the completion of the project will significantly boost economic activities in Bicol Region once the economy re-opens.

The 12 priority agenda will be discussed in succeeding Luzon RDCom meetings.

Mary Deemple D. Ariate, NEDA Region IV-A | September 21, 2020