by Shah Balaw-ing


San Fernando City, Pampanga – NEDA Directors of Regions 1, 2, 3 and CAR which comprise North Luzon (NL) met here last August 6, 2013 to step up and accelerate North Luzon Integration. The integration has been endorsed by RDC CAR and RDC 2 while the endorsement of RDC Regions 1 and 3 is being discussed at the committee level.

The NL Integration was commissioned as a development strategy that will bring about rapid and widespread economic benefits to the people of North Luzon. It entails physical integration of the four regions through land, air and water transportation infrastructures and institutional arrangements which means harmonization of relevant policies.

To speed up integration, the North Luzon directors agreed to meet again to incorporate key programs and projects identified as interregional projects strategic to NL Integration into the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the Public Investment Plan (PIP).

Meanwhile, NEDA CAR Director Milagros A. Rimando who spearheaded the NL Integration study said that a North Luzon Growth Coordinating Council (NLGCC) is being proposed. The NLGCC shall provide overall policy direction, coordination and monitoring of programs and projects related to integration. It shall be composed of the Chairmen of RDC 1, 2, 3 and CAR, governors of all the provinces of the four regions as well as all the region's regional governors of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

The NLGCC is anticipated to facilitate the integration and to resolve conflicts being encountered in interregional implementation of programs.