Eleven private sector representatives (PSRs) of the MIMAROPA Regional Development Council (RDC) participated in the 13th RDC-PSR National Convention hosted by RDC Ilocos  on April 28-29 through Zoom. ​​​​​​​

The region was led by Ms. Marvi R. Trudeau of Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., as lead convenor while the RDC was represented by Vice-Chairperson and Regional Director (RD) Agustin C. Mendoza of the NEDA Regional Office in MIMAROPA, Secretary and ARDC Apollo Edwin S. Pagano, and other members of the RDC Secretariat.

The convention was attended by around 240 PSRs and RDC officials and carried the theme “PANAGKAYKAYSA: Strengthening Unity, Harnessing Cooperation, and Sharing Responsibility Towards National Recovery.”

The annual activity also aimed to encourage unity and cooperation among PSRs to sustain their active roles in the national recovery plan from COVID-19 and other disasters and strengthen their partnership and participation with the government.

RDC Ilocos or RDC 1 Chairperson and Vigan Mayor Juan Carlo S. Medina, in his welcome address, emphasized that unity is vital to rise against the ongoing pandemic. He added that all throughout the endeavors, collaborative efforts with the business sector, civil society organizations and nongovernment organizations made the plight easier to bear as they continue to share the load of alleviating communities to thrive amidst the increasing needs during this time of pandemic.

Meanwhile, Dr. Isagani J. Sarmiento, in his keynote speech, pointed out that the Philippines produces heroes which includes the civil society organizations that are  shining crystals and must strongly unite, harness cooperation, and share responsibility until they eventually form a pearl with a great price.

NEDA Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla discussed the topic titled “Gearing Towards Economic Recovery from COVID-19”. She emphasized the valuable inputs and critical role of the PSRs in making the economy more responsive.

EnP. Joemier Pontawe, Department of Transportation program manager of the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, for his part, discussed the “PUV Modernization Plan.” He highlighted the next steps and ways forward for the program, which are (1) to strengthen the institution in charge of implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the program; and (2) to explore other methods to further intensify communication efforts and build partnerships.

Director, Dr. Annabelle V. Briones of the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute, tackled the topic, “Strengthening Virology Science in the Philippines: Addressing Concerns on Locally Developing and Producing Vaccines”. She emphasized that the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) Program will serve as a venue for local and foreign researchers to work in collaboration on virology and create a network with local and foreign researchers and institutions working on virology. Moreover, it will provide capacity building activities and translate the outputs of research and development activities into technologies.

Director Elenida Rosario-Basug of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Climate Change Service, presented the topic, “Climate Adaptation and Climate Justice towards Sustainable Recovery”. She stressed the importance of engaging the private sector on green investments and sustainable recovery through sustainable financing, and promoting green jobs and innovations and technology.

Director Anna Liza F. Bonagua of the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Bureau of Local Government Development discussed the roles of PSRs in the implementation of Executive Order 138, s. 2021 on full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to local government units. She expressed that engagement with nongovernment organizations, by providing feedback on the programs and projects of the government; pushing for various advocacies and initiatives; formulating plans, policies, and issuances; and implementing capacity development programs and activities, would help the government especially the regions to develop a better nation.

On the second day of the event, lead convenor RDC 1 PSR Vincent Adorna presided over the business meeting and the turnover of hosting of the next convention to RDC VI.

Participants of the convention wore polo shirts with accents made from regional textile. MIMAROPA PSRs and members of the RDC Secretariat donned a white polo shirt with “Ramit,” a fabric handwoven by the Hanunuo Mangyan community, and with the collar bearing an embroidered logo of the RDC and at the back an embroidered logo of the region’s official slogan, “MIMAROPA Naturally.”

In 2023 and 2024, RDC Western Visayas  and Northern Mindanao  will host the 14th and 15th national conventions, respectively.