The Advisory Committee of the Cordillera Regional Development Council met on August 9 to discuss the region’s investment priority programs and projects for the next five years and the proposed amendments to House Bill 5343 which establishes the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera. The meeting was held at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City.

After RDC Vice-Chairperson and NEDA-CAR Director Milagros Rimando presented the Cordillera’s Regional Development Investment Plan (RDIP) for 2017-2022, the Advisory Committee and the RDC-CAR agreed to include the DTI Convergence Program in the RDIP and look for ways by which small projects can be packaged so that the floor amount of P100 M may be reached and thus be included in the RDIP and the Provincial Investment Plans. The RDC Secretariat was also tasked to coordinate and conduct a workshop with PPDOs, district engineers and provincial engineers to further enhance the RDIP.

On the proposed amendments to HB 5343 presented by Atty. Leilene Gallardo of DOJ, RDC Chairman  and  Baguio  City  Mayor  Mauricio    Domogan suggested that Section 106  be carefully studied as its provisions may invite questions later on.  The inclusion of the ‘opt in-opt out’ clause, similar to that of the BBL, was also proposed by   Benguet   Congressman Ronald Cosalan.  Further,  Baguio  City Congressman Mark  Go  reiterated  that  the   Cordillera Region can still continue to ask for the declaration of HB 5343  as  a  priority  bill,  citing   the  example  of  the  bill  on  tax  reform.

The 2018 budgets of the Cordillera regional line agencies and SUCs were also presented by Ms. Mayna Caymo, Chief Budget Management Specialist of DBM-CAR.  The agencies were advised to coordinate with the DBM regarding actual approved agency budgets in the National Expenditure Program.

The meeting was attended by the region’s six Congressional Representatives: Congr. Joseph Sto. Niño  of  Abra,  Eleanor  Bulut-Begtang of Apayao, Mark Go of Baguio,  Ronald  Cosalan  of   Benguet, Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao, and Allen Jesse Mangaoang of Kalinga and Mountain Province.

They were joined by Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso, Ifugao Governor Pedro Mayam-o, Kalinga Acting Governor James Edduba, and Baguio City Mayor and RDC Chairman Mauricio Domogan.  Also present were the heads of CAR SUCs and RLAs such as DA, DAR, DepED, DILG, DSWD, DOH, DOLE, DOST, NEDA, NIA, NCIP, TESDA, and NEDA.  The directors of DENR and DPWH were also ably represented, while the RDC Private Sector Representative were likewise present.