Quezon City: A Project Management Office (PMO) lodged with NEDA-CAR will be created to manage the Cordillera Regional Development and Autonomy Program (CRDAP).

NEDA-CAR Regional Director Leonard Quitos presented the proposal last December 7, 2011 during the special RDC ExCom Meeting at the Sulo Hotel here. The meeting, attended by some Cordillera representatives, unanimously approved the creation of the proposed PMO.

Quitos said that a fully staffed PMO, will provide the structure that will implement the CRDAP.

As of now, there are only three contractual employees financed by the special autonomy fund (SAF). Secretariat work to CRDAP is largely done by NEDA-CAR. The RDC in justifying year-end autonomy bonus for NEDA-CAR staff, which the Commission on Audit (COA) disapproved, has stated that the CRDAP entails a gargantuan task which used to be performed by a fully staffed Cordillera Executive Board. (CEB).

CRDAP has three components namely Information, Education and Communication Campaign (IEC); Capability Building; and Program Management and Continuing Engagement with National Government.

In an earlier RDC ExCom Meeting in Ifugao last November 16, 2011 several members pushed for the creation of a PMO. Director Clarence Baguilat of DENR who chairs the Economic Development Committee said that the PMO should continue with IEC and capability building work on regional autonomy.   He also suggested lobbying as a special task within continuing engagement with national government.

The RDC made Regional Autonomy its over-arching goal during a strategic planning session in early 2006. In 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 it was given a special autonomy fund by the national government in the amount of P15 million each except in 2008 when it received P18 million. No autonomy money was received in 2009.

Due to operational bottlenecks, the RDC had not fully utilized some of the funds.

With the PMO, we hope the RDC can do justice to the special autonomy fund, Quitos said.