RDC Chairperson’s Welcome Remarks

3rd Quarter RDC Full Council Meeting

17 September 2021, 09:30 AM – 12:00 NN via Zoom

Good morning to all RDC Full Council members and guests. Welcome to the 3rd Quarter Full Council Meeting of the Central Visayas Regional Development Council. First and foremost, let me acknowledge the presence of our guests today, the family members of the ex-IDC/DAC chairperson, the late Mr. Valeriano “Bobit” Avila, and ex-RDC Chairpersons, the late Hon. Pablo “Pabling” Garcia and Hon. Emilio Mario “Lito” Osmena. As we owe part of the region’s present development to our past leaders, let us dedicate a few moments of silence to pray and honor their memories with us.

(10 seconds of silence)

As of last Friday, September 10, more than 1 Million Cebuanos were inoculated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, more than 660,000 of which are fully vaccinated. About 32% of the population among Metro Cebu LGUs have completed their jabs, with Mandaue City leading at 42%. Overall, more than 2 Million vaccines, or almost 40% of the eligible population, have been administered throughout the region, with almost 280,000 doses in Bohol, 210,000 in Negros Oriental and 57,000 in Siquijor.

Apart from the tireless efforts of our partners in the government and private sectors, I would like to thank the volunteer doctors and medical personnel, para-medical groups, chambers of commerce, and religious organizations for their commitment in helping us breach this 2 Million mark. Truly, we as a region continue to exemplify the virtue of Bayanihan.

On a similar note, we are happy to share PSA 7’s July 2021 Labor Force Survey results released last August 24 where 67.2 percent of Central Visayas’ total population of 15 years old and over, are included in the Labor Force. Among the regions in the country, our region has an employment rate of 91.8% which is higher compared to the national estimate of 91.3%. Likewise, Central Visayas has a lower unemployment rate of 8.2% compared to the national estimate of 8.7%. This is still higher, although, compared to the pre-pandemic figure by 2.7% during the same period in 2019.

In preparation for the devolution of executive functions to the local governments, I, together with the RDC sectoral committee chairpersons, DBM, DILG, OPAV, and NEDA met on August 03 to discuss the initial steps in preparing the RDC for this major undertaking. Among the initial steps are the creation of the Regional Committee of Devolution (ComDev) which is part of today’s proposed Agenda, and capacity building activities such as the webinar-training series conducted by the Secretariat in celebration of the RDC week this September.

On September 07, the RDC conducted the first session of its webinar-training series for 2021. DBM Asec. Achilles Gerard Bravo presented the “Implications of the Mandanas Ruling to the Budgeting of National/ Regional Line Agencies”, and DILG Dir. Anna Liza Bonagua presented the “Preparation of Devolution Transition Plans of LGUs”. Various topics were raised and discussed during the Open Forum including, the timeline of implementation of EO 138, the capacity building activities for the LGUs, participation of the private sector and civic groups in drafting the DTPs, and the required contents of the agency/ LGU DTPs.

I believe that the webinar-training was successful in imparting valuable information to all 190 participants especially to LGUs and regional line agencies. With this, I encourage everyone to attend the next sessions on September 22 and 24, and October 1 to further prepare you, our region’s forerunners, on the full devolution of executive functions. The topics which will be presented include: on September 22 “ICC Requirements and Project Evaluation Processes”, on September 24 “Fundamentals of PPP Projects and Joint Venture Agreements for LGUs”, and on October 01 “Parliamentary Procedures and Resolution Writing”.

Lastly, let me express my sincerest gratitude to everyone for your support in preparing our region towards the full implementation of EO 138. Thank you and good morning.