Executive Order 325, Series of 1996 (Reorganization of the Regional Development Councils) stipulates that the main function of RDCs is to accelerate the socio-economic development of the regions. On the other hand, Executive Order 30, Series of 2001 (Providing for a Regional Development Council in CAR) states that the RDC of CAR is the primary body responsible for setting the direction of economic and social development in the region and through which regional development efforts shall be coordinated.

Among others, the specific functions of RDC are to coordinate the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of short and long term regional development plans and investment programs; initiate and coordinate the development, funding and implementation of regional and special development projects such as those involving several agencies or LGUs; and review and endorse to the national government the annual budgets of agency regional offices, state colleges and universities and special development authorities.

In 2016, the RDC has substantially performed its mandated functions:

  1.  1. Planning, Investment Programming and Budgeting

During the past few months, RDC has been busy formulating new Regional Development Plan (RDP) and Regional Development Investment Program (RDIP) which identifies and ranks the priority projects for the period 2017-2022.  A long term plan, the Regional Spatial Development Framework (RSDF) 2016-2045 is also on the drawing board providing for the development of growth centers spread throughout the region with corresponding spatial development strategies to attain the development objectives of the region.  The RSDF went through provincial consultations from June 7 to July 22, 2016 to obtain inputs from provincial stakeholders and thereby ensure that the objectives, strategies policies, programs/projects contained in the Plan also reflect the aspirations of the provinces.

In addition, RDC has formulated and published the following reference documents: the CAR Investment Priority Plan 2015-2016 to serve as guide for private entrepreneurs in identifying areas for investments; the CAR Regional Research Agenda 2015-2016 to serve as guide on researchable areas needed to support development in the region; the CAR Coffee Master Plan 2016-2022 to serve as the blueprint for the development of coffee, our most important high valued commodity in the region, and the Declaration of Principles for Environmental Governance (DPEG) to serve as a guide and to set policy directions in environmental management.

In budget review, last year the RDC reviewed the 2017 budget proposal of 16 regional line agencies and 6 State Universities and Colleges by a panel composed of members of the RDC Executive Committee and Regional Development Budget Coordination Committee. This year a budget review of Regional Line Agencies and State Colleges and Universities is scheduled on March 13-14, 2017 to ensure the funding of priority projects in the RDIP.

Cognizant of the important role of the BLISTT (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay) as the primary growth center in CAR, the RDC Secretariat continued to be the interim secretariat of the BLISTT Mayors’ Council promoting  inter-cooperation between and among the BLISTT LGUs for a holistic socio-economic development of the area. A BLISTT Action Agenda which the Secretariat has crafted based on stakeholder consultation was approved by the BLISTT Mayors’ Council.

  1. 2. Project Development and Evaluation

In 2016 alone, the RDC championed 3 milestone projects that are now benefiting the region namely, CHARMP2 Scaling up, BLISTT  Outer Circumferential Road Project, and Philippine Rural Development Project.  These projects were endorsed by the Regional Development Council-CAR.

One achievement of the RDC is the endorsement and approval of the Cordillera Highland  Agricultural Resources Management Project (CHARMP2) Scaling Up  whose components are Social Mobilization and Participatory Investment Planning, Agro-forestry, Agriculture Agribusiness and Income Generating Activities (AAIGA) and Rural Infrastructure Development (RID).  Despite initial opposition to this project, NEDA-CAR shepherded this project to increase farmers’ income in the Cordillera. NEDA presented justification for this project in the Investment Coordinating Committee meetings until it was finally approved by the NEDA Board last November 14, 2016. This project is aimed at consolidating the success of the earlier CHARMP2 projects and provides the opportunity to expand investments to the poorest areas of CAR that did not received support from the earlier CHARMP2 project. It will serve 18 poor municipalities (3 per province) and cost about Php601 million for  implementation within the next two (2) years (2017 – 2018).

List of CHARMP2 Scaling Up Barangays, by Province

Province Barangay, Municipality
Abra Nalbuan in Licuan-Baay; Nagbuquel in Luba; Bayabas in Malibcong
Apayao Ferdinand In Calanasan; Calafug In Conner; Lucab in Kabugao
Benguet Bagu in Bakun; Pongayan in Kapangan; Pappa in Sablan
Ifugao Anao in Hingyon; Abatan in Hungduan; Gumhang in Tinoc,
Kalinga Taloctoc in Tanudan; Bugnay in Tingiayan; Balinciagao Sur in Pasil
Mountain Province Bagnen Oriente in Bauko; Balugan in Sagada;Dacudac in Tadian

The RDC Secretariat also guided and coordinated the the preparation of the Feasibility Study (FS) of the Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT) Outer Ring Circumferential Road, a critical road project included in the RDC-endorsed Updated RDIP 2015-2017. DPWH-CAR staff stayed in NEDA office for 3 months from January to March 2016 where regular consultations and workshops were undertaken to review outputs, until the final completion of the FS. The FS found the road economically and financially viable and this made the DPWH Central Office allocate Php450 million this year (2017) and every year thereafter until the road will be finally completed. Upon completion of the outer circumferential road, it will serve as alternate route to the inner circumferential road, enhance further BLISTT inter linkages and thus, stimulate economic activity in this area.

Under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), one hundred four (104) projects amounting to Php 5.06 billion are lined up for implementation this year till 2020 across 6 provinces in CAR. These projects consist both of the IBUILD (62 sub projects) at PhP4.9 billion and IREAP (40 sub projects) amounting to Php 97 Million.

The RDC Secretariat evaluated the PRDP with two major recommendations to Department of Agriculture (DA) – the implementing agency to increase access of provinces (particularly Apayao) to the PRDP fund.  The recommendations presented during the June 6, 2016 Economic Development Committee were:

  1. a. For DA-CAR to assist the LGUs identify projects, prepare project proposals, and to inform them of the 10% counterpart for I-BUILD projects for easier access of PRDP funds; and
  2. b. For DA CAR to provide accelerated and enhanced technical assistance to the province of Apayao in preparing project proposals to increase its access to PRDP fund (as it had originally the lowest allocation across provinces).
  1. 3. Project Monitoring

Regular monitoring of programs/projects and Problem Solving Sessions (PSS) are conducted under the Regional Project Monitoring Committee to monitor projects and flag down problematical ones with the aim of ensuring its quality completion with least cost. Quarterly regional project monitoring reports are likewise regularly prepared.

For example, there was close monitoring of the DOT – DPWH convergence tourism road program resulting to the completion of road projects from 2012 – 2014, the completion of eight out of 17 projects for 2015 and two out of 13 projects in 2016.

Project monitoring inspections were also organized for 38 projects that included 3 tourism roads, 2 PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) projects, 1 Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project Phase (ARISP), 11 School Building Program/ Basic Education Facilities and 11 RAIN Projects. Selected projects were the subject of PSS such as the bridge project in Betwagan, Sadanga funded by PAMANA, SBP/BEF projects in Benguet and all the tourism road projects.

The RPMC also inspected seventeen (17) projects covering major programs such as the (a) Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) (b) Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project Phase 3 (c) Tourism Road Projects (d) School Building Program and sub-project components of the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP2).

  1. 4. RDC Secretariat Services

Forty seven (47) resolutions were enacted by the RDC in 2016 pertaining to various programs/projects. One of these resolutions is entitled “Urging Congress to Enact a Law Suspending the Period of Availment for Indigenous Peoples to Secure Land Title to their Ancestral Lands under the Provisions of Common Wealth Act 141 as provided in Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 which was acted on immediately by the Congressional Committee on IPs. Relatedly, three separate House Bills in the 17th Congress were filed pushing for the extension of the period of availment. In an effort to promote excellence among the LGUs, the RDC also instituted the Forwarding Local Autonomy Medal of Excellence (FLAME) Awards through Resolution No. 35. Awards are given every July during the Cordillera Month Celebration. RDC-CAR also endorsed the conduct of Project Feasibility Studies for the Chico River Mega Dike Project and the Lubuagan-Boliney – Pilar- Sta. Maria National Road in Kalinga as well as the Amburayan River Basin to be declared as Water Quality Management Area (WQMA).

Meanwhile, the RDC continues to undertake the Social Preparation of the CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR), a special program which is aligned to one of the six regional development goals of the Cordillera to pursue and capitalize on the constitutional provisions for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera.  The RDC has recognized autonomy as a development advantage to advance the region’s socio-economic development.

Indeed, the task of RDC in coordinating development in the Cordilleras are many, varied and challenging. We hope to continue to perform all these functions to be true to our mandate of being the primary institution to accelerate socio economic development in the region. (8 March 2017).