The unique natural, historical and cultural assets of the Cordillera region were emphasized in the Regional Action Plan (RAP) of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, and in the recommendations to the North Luzon (NL) Growth Corridor Strategic Plan. Both plans were endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) which convened in a hybrid meeting set-up on Thursday, June 10.

The NL Strategic Plan was initiated by the Northern Luzon Alliance comprising of 49 legislators mostly from Regions 1, 2, and CAR that compose the greater region of Northern Philippines. Said plan adopted the development plans of the 3 regions in an attempt towards a unified development direction of North Luzon.  Additional inputs were raised, however, when this was presented to the RDC for endorsement in its 1st quarter meeting on 18 March 2021.

The NEDA-CAR and the RDC through its sectoral committees recommend the following: (1) a study on the development of an integrated North Luzon economic zone that will consolidate the region’s products, and serve as a staging area for national and international trade directed to countries in the Asia-Pacific region; (2) preparation of a North Luzon Economic Zone Development Master Plan with CAR as pilot study area; and (3) inclusion of a legislative agenda to advance the strategies and initiatives of the Plan.

The RDC agreed to approve in principle the NL Strategic Plan and emphasized that RDC recommendations are incorporated in the final document.

The BP2 RAP which includes the Localized Implementation Guidelines and the Communications Plan was endorsed earlier by the CAR BP2 Committee chaired by Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for CAR and Agriculture Secretary William Dar on April 28, 2021.

RDC Secretary and NEDA Assistant Director Stephanie F. Christiansen said that there is a need to adopt an economic zone development as a major strategy for the region as recommended by Secretary Dar which is also consistent to the strategies of the NL Growth Corridor Strategic Plan.

The BP RAP embodies the planning principles of environmental sustainability, culture-responsive development, convergence and inclusion which are responsive to the development concerns of the region.