by Shah Balaw-ing

The State of the Region Address (SORA) delivered during the 26th Cordillera Day celebration at the St. Louis University stressed the need for a sustainable development in the region.

With the RDC Chairman and Co-Chairman deemed vacant after the term of the previous elected officials, the SORA was delivered by the RDC Vice Chairman, an ex-officio position held by NEDA-CAR director Milagros Rimando.

Rimando explained that the regional economy of CAR as indicated by its Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of CAR has always been unsustainable. In 2011, the share of CAR to the Philippine economy as measured through Gross National Product (GNP) was only at 2.1 percent, a slowdown from the 6.3 percent contribution in 2010. She said this contribution was deemed average considering the fact that in 1997 and 1999; CAR was among the best performing regions.

The Industry Sector accounted for the bulk of the GRDP at 52 percent from the period 2009-2011, while the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) Sector only contributed 11 percent despite the fact that more than 50 percent of the region’s employment depends on AHFF.

We therefore see the need to intensify programs that would increase agricultural productivity, Rimando stressed.

To address the region’s unsustainable development, Rimando said that the RDC views regional autonomy as a strategy. She explained that through this set-up, the region can correct some national development standards that are not suitable to our particularities.

The RDC recognizes the need to raise awareness on regional autonomy, which can be achieved through the cooperation of political leaders and of all stakeholders in the region.

“As always, we emphasize teamwork and convergence of all efforts. Local leaders, civil servants, farmers, miners, the private sector, academe, civil society, students, each member of the community – We are Team Cordillera.” she concluded.