Secretary Chua during the blended meeting with NEDA MIMAROPA

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua visited NEDA MIMAROPA in Calapan City on February 8, 2022.  He was joined by NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Mercedita A. Sombilla and staff from the Office of the Secretary.

Secretary Chua and Usec. Sombilla with RD Mendoza, OIC-ARD Atienza, and OSEC Staff Renzo and Raanelle at the NEDA MIMAROPA Office of the Regional Director

In his welcome remarks, NEDA MIMAROPA Regional Director (RD) Agustin C. Mendoza expressed his gratitude to Secretary Chua and Undersecretary Sombilla for visiting MIMAROPA, the “destination of choice.”

Meanwhile, OIC-Assistant RD Bernardino A. Atienza Jr. presented the staff profile and provided the office’s socio-demographic background and organizational structure.

Afterwards, RD Mendoza presented a regional backgrounder with updates on MIMAROPA’s key development areas, issues, and challenges, particularly on spatial and connectivity infrastructures in the region.

Secretary Chua with NEDA MIMAROPA staff during the blended meeting

During the meeting, Secretary Chua expressed his pleasure to finally visit MIMAROPA and personally experience its unique topographic features and resource endowments. According to him, preserving its tourism sites and enhancing its connectivity are key to unlocking MIMAROPA’s economic potential.

He also thanked everyone for their service to the country as NEDA has been at the forefront of its economic recovery. He said that the country’s growth prospects remain promising despite the temporary surge in cases due to the omicron variant. 

Further, Secretary Chua emphasized NEDA’s four key priorities to improve the country’s productivity and achieve the next level of development. These are smarter infrastructure, regional equity, innovation, and climate change.

He stressed that infrastructure, such as transportation and telecommunications, should be “smart” and bring about comfort and convenience for the users.

On regional equity, he said that NEDA should be objective in assessing the allocation of scarce resources.

Moreover, he said that innovation should be accessible to everyone to help the Philippines achieve an upper-middle income country status, and eventually high-income country status. This also covers innovation in basic sectors, such as agriculture.

He added that NEDA’s subsequent plans should prepare the country to adapt and mitigate the risks brought about by climate change.

Secretary Chua and Usec. Sombilla with NEDA MIMAROPA Management Committee during the blended meeting

Secretary Chua also provided brief updates on the pending NEDA bill and NEDA change management program. With these, he hopes to enhance the agency’s capacity to deliver its mandate and influence the country’s development planning.

Finally, Secretary Chua emphasized that the NEDAns should continuously strive to be better in order to deliver the best service to the public. He encouraged everyone to continue learning and thinking of new ways to work collectively towards the development of the region and the country.