The Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) conducted the End-of-Term Address on June 20, 2022 at The Marison Hotel, Legazpi City. It is the first time to hold the special event which was spearheaded by the NEDA 5, as the RDC secretariat. The activity raised public awareness of the RDC as the highest policy-making body in the region and its collaborative and innovative efforts during the three-year term (2019 to 2022) under the leadership of Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal, as RDC Chairperson with Private Sector Representative (PSR) Nicolas Beda A. Priela, PSR for Business Sector as RDC Co-Chairperson.

Highlight of the event was the presentation of the major accomplishments and key milestones of the Bicol RDC as mandated by Executive Order No. 325, Series of 1996, covering the areas of development planning and policy-making, investment programming and budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation.

In his speech, the Chair mentioned the start of the term 2019 with Bicol having a very strong economic position, being the fastest growing economy in the country in 2018 and 2019. But the term hardly started when the pandemic hit the globe in 2020, immobilizing almost everything – paralyzing the economy. Through a collaborative and innovative approach to addressing the pandemic, the Bicol RDC was able to steer the region toward socioeconomic recovery.

“And today, it is a great pleasure to stand in front of you to share what we have accomplished together in the last three years under my term, and with the help of the RDC Co-Chairperson, PSR Nicolas Beda A. Priela, amid the challenges of the pandemic”, RDC Chair Mayor Noel E. Rosal said.

Bicol RDC Chairperson, Mayor Noel E. Rosal delivers his speech in front of about 200 RDC members and guests during the Bicol RDC End-of-Term Address held on June 20, 2022 at Marison Hotel, Legazpi City.

Among the notable initiatives of the RDC Chair include encouraging some of his fellow local chief executives (LCEs) to lead the Sectoral Committees (SecComs) of the Bicol RDC which is instrumental in promoting active participation among LCEs to contribute in a broader perspective of regional development. Participatory governance was emphasized under his leadership that inspired private sector partners to work hand in hand with LCEs as Co-Chairpersons of the SecComs.

The SecCom chairs also delivered messages of gratitude to the opportunities provided in serving the Bicol RDC towards sustainable, participatory, and equitable development. Major accomplishments of the private sector partners were presented by Ms. Aurora C. De Guzman, PSR for Women. In her report the following significant contributions were highlighted: (a) inclusive and rights-based development, (b) transparent, accountable and participatory governance, (c) ecologically sustainable development, (d) people-centered, responsive and strategic programs, (e) information and advocacy of the Ambisyon Natin 2040, Philippine and Bicol Regional Development Plans 2017 to 2022, (f) monitoring and evaluation, and (g) sharing of technical knowledge and experiences. Honoring collaborative efforts of the Bicol RDC, Ms. De Guzman said, “Let us celebrate what we have accomplished and continue our efforts in the region to achieve in making governance more open, more transparent, more accountable, and more participatory”.

From left to right: RDC geographic and sectoral PSRs Mr. Jose M. Medina, Jr. for Tourism, Mr. Dante L. Encinas for Labor, Mr. Santiago K. Cervantes for Fisherfolks, Rev. Fr. Romulo R. Castaňeda for Farmers, Engr. Benjamin Elevado for Camarines Norte, Ms. Aurora C. De Guzman for Women, RDC Chair Mayor Noel E. Rosal, RDC Vice-Chairperson and NEDA 5 Regional Director Agnes E. Tolentino, USec. Marvel Clavecilla of OPABA, Ms. Caroline Ubalde for Sorsogon, Engr. Al P. Orlanes for Masbate, Ms. Jennifer M. Arao for Persons with Disabilities, Ms. Mary Ness-Ver B. Gavica for Camarines Sur, and Rev. Fr. Rex Paul Arjona for Albay.

The same proposition was urged by the RDC Chair at the end of his address, “With the incoming administration, the new set of local chief executives, and the structural reforms that were made for the ‘new normal’, I call for your continuous support of the RDC’s initiatives in making Bicol’s economy stay afloat, thriving, and robust, ready to navigate the economy out of the pandemic”.

The End-of-Term Address, was attended by about 200 RDC members and guests. The event was live-streamed on social media by the Philippine Information Agency Region 5 and media partners which enable a regionwide audience reach. Most feedback were given declaring the affair a resounding success.

Agnes May Alta/NEDA5