Baguio City, 1 June 2021: CORDS for CAR and Agriculture Secretary William Dar (inset, left photo) reported the major development and security accomplishments of the current administration in the region during the CAR Regional Pre-SONA Series led by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles with officials from the PCOO and PIA, and Host Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong (right photo) and attended by various Cordillera stakeholders.

Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for CAR and Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar reported the top 5 accomplishments of the Duterte administration in the region in today’s Regional Pre-SONA Series for the Cordillera held at the Baguio Convention Center and mainstreamed live through Facebook.

These major accomplishments are, (1) improved regional poverty alleviation and greater economic and social inclusion with CAR performing better compared to the national average in poverty incidence indicators; (2) improved road and irrigation facilities wherein these major roads such as the Cordillera trunk line, BLISTT Outer Ring Project and various farm-to-market roads would significantly reduce inter-province and inter-region travel time, and continue to boost tourism, agriculture and other economic activities once completed; (3) improved peace and order making the region among the safest regions in the country; (4) improved security situation with the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach towards inclusive and sustainable peace and development; and, (5) the declaration of 5 Minahang Bayan which seeks to address the ill-effects of unregulated mining activities on the environment and the safety and well-being of indigenous communities – 2 in Benguet, 2 in Apayao and 1 in Mt. Province.

With these accomplishments, the region has performed well but much remains to be done. Dar said that, “it is not bad to become ambitious and target an 11 percent economic growth as initially estimated by the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) if we wish to break-even in 2021”.

On the pandemic response, he said, “through the NEDA, we have crafted our Covid-19 Regional Recovery Program for 2020-2022. To implement this, inter-agency committees with membership from the private sectors have been formed to focus on implementing programs, projects and activities for economic recovery, social recovery, governance, transport support and food resiliency. In the same manner, the updating of the Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022 and later its localization at the regional level is in the process”.

DOH-CAR Asst. Regional Head Dr. Amelita Pangilinan reported that the country has reached the 1.2M mark of Covid-19 cases nationwide, however, CAR is no longer among the top regions. Meanwhile, the ongoing vaccine roll-out is at 73.63 percent utilization rate. 

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said in his welcome message that the City has managed to adapt and handle the pandemic with the full support of the national government. He acknowledged that the government has been marked by the 4Cs of governance –cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles welcomed all guests and participants informing that the Cordillera leg of the Regional Pre-SONA Series is the 6th installment which will culminate in the last State of the Nation Address of President Duterte in July 2021.

Meanwhile, PIA Director General Ramon Cualoping III summarized Duterte’s legacy described with “Tapang at Malasakit” as captured from the reports of the 6 cabinet clusters. These programs are geared towards a drug-free Philippines, golden age of infrastructure through the Build-Build-Build Program, ending communist armed conflict, and independent foreign policy. Malasakit programs include the Pilipinas Kontra Gutom, Malasakit Centers and the COVID response of providing safe, effective and free vaccines.

The NEDA and the Regional Development Council Cordillera provided technical and administrative assistance to the Office of Cabinet Secretary and the Presidential Communications Operations Office as the lead agencies in the Regional Pre-SONA Series.