Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro of the NEDA Regional Development Office (RDO) visited the Cordillera Region on July 18-20, 2017. During this brief visit, she met with RDC Chairman and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, visited three major projects in Baguio City, had a brief fellowship meeting with the NEDA-CAR staff, and participated in an ongoing IEC Workshop on Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region.
In her meeting with RDC Chairman Domogan where various issues and concerns on the region’s pursuit of regional autonomy were discussed, she suggested that the RDC-CAR (1) recommend the inclusion of the autonomy discussion in the RDCom agenda, and (2) request LEDAC to include HB 5343 as a priority bill of the Duterte Administration. The USEC also agreed to study the proposal to reclassify the budget of SPCAR for the hiring of contractual staff (PS) and for procurement of necessary equipment (CO).
USEC Navarro also visited the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) Cancer Institute during which DOH-CAR Director Lakshmi Legaspi presented the perceived effects of the 26 percent cut in the 2018 budget of the BGHMC and other CAR health projects on the delivery of affordable health services. The USEC suggested that the RDC-CAR pass a resolution endorsing the region’s health sector priorities which may include the programs and projects affected by the 26 percent reduction in the DOH-CAR 2018 budget.
Meanwhile, her visit to the Baguio City Airport was marked by discussions on RROW problems involving the airport. The USEC recommended the conduct of problem-solving sessions at the local level, and if the issue still cannot be resolved, for the region to elevate the problem to her office so that she, as the NPMC Chairperson, can act on it. USEC
Navarro also emphasized that the function of an airport as a vulnerability reduction measure justifies the full operationalization of the Baguio City Airport. She suggested the development of circuit tourism that would connect Baguio City destinations to the nearby areas, and the updating of the pre-FS conducted on the airport in 2013 to include recent developments in the transport sector such as the TPLEX.
In Moog Control Corporation, Atty. Rene Joey Mipa, Zone Administrator of the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) shared that being a special non-voting member of the RDC provided the PEZA with the opportunity to participate in development planning and air out concerns of the region’s industry sector. In response, USEC Navarro informed that it was she who recommended the inclusion of Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in all RDCs, on the request of PEZA Director General Charito Plaza. During the meeting, she instructed NEDA-CAR to assist the BCEZ in researching on ecozone development experiences and best practices in other regions and study if and how these can be applied in the Cordillera Region.
USEC Navarro’s visit to the Cordillera Region is seen as an effective way of getting to know more about the concerns in the regions for a more reliable analysis of situations at the local level, which result to more responsive policies and decision-making at the national level. (drd/neda)