Assistant Regional Director Stephanie Faculo Christiansen of the NEDA Regional Office Cordillera gave updates on several regional development initiatives in a 45-minute live TV interview in the Isyu@Serbisyo show of PTV Cordillera last February 18, 2022.

She highlighted the agency’s assistance in post-disaster needs assessment relative to the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the formulation of the Cordillera Regional Recovery Plan. Said plan outlines the commitment of all government agencies in responding to the impact of the pandemic across all sectors. NEDA continues to provide guidance in post-disaster assessment and post-pandemic recovery as the Vice-Chair of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CRDRRMC) and the lead in the Economic Recovery Cluster of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF).

NEDA-CAR, as the technical secretariat of the BLISTT Governing Council, is assisting in the current updating of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) Action Agenda together with the local governments, regional line agencies and the private sector. She said that the agency ensures that the programs therein are responsive to the evolving needs of the BLISTT area experienced during the pandemic and requirements for recovery.

Prior to this, she mentioned that NEDA funded the preparation of the BLISTT Sustainable Development Master Plan and the five feasibility studies of proposed priority projects that could be considered in the updating of the BLISTT Action Agenda.

Moreover, she said that the BLISTT as a growth center in the region demonstrated the cooperation of the six local chief executives especially during the pandemic when harmonized border controls and regulations were needed to be established and aggressive testing, contact tracing and resource sharing spearheaded by Baguio City were equally essential.  She also mentioned the BLISTT Outer Circumferential Road project which commenced with a NEDA-initiated pre-feasibility study in 2016 in collaboration with the Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) that provided connectivity of these areas. Said project received annual funding from DPWH since 2017 and is allotted Php3 billion this year.

On the advocacy for regional autonomy, she said that the House Bill was endorsed to the House Committee on Appropriation before the congressional session closed. This was earlier approved at the Committee on Local Government and Ways and Means.

“The journey continues for regional autonomy,” she said.  She called on everyone to participate in the information and awareness campaign through the Speakers’ Bureau and the alliance building activities especially with the new cabinet officers and officials.

In closing, ARD Christiansen encouraged everyone to be engaged in the development process to ensure a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay (deeply rooted, comfortable and secure life) which is the collective long-term vision of every Filipino outlined in the Philippine Development Plan and the Cordillera Regional Development Plan. She said that NEDA’s commitment in the preparation of development plans and programs for the region is guided by its organizational values of professionalism, integrity and excellence.

Watch the interview for the details through the PTV YouTube channel @https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM57DjWtDcQ or Facebook @https://www.facebook.com/PTVCARPublicAffairs/videos/445130584007492.