The Regional Development Council (RDC) in MIMAROPA conducted a workshop on the formulation of the Regional Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa (BP2) Action Plan on November 9.

The workshop was participated in by planning officers and senior technical staff of regional line agencies (RLAs), government-owned and/or controlled corporations (GOCCs), and state universities and colleges (SUCs); provincial, city, and municipal planning and development coordinators; private sector representatives; and RDC Sectoral Committee members.

The workshop aimed to validate assessment, challenges, and targets per key result area and recommend specific measures, strategies, and programs for the immediate, short, medium, and long terms to be implemented by concerned public and private institutions.

In her welcome remarks, MIMAROPA RDC Special BP2  Committee Vice-Chairperson, OIC-Regional Director (RD) Susan A. Sumbeling of the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) in MIMAROPA emphasized how the Regional BP2  Action Plan will serve as a roadmap for ensuring balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources, and opportunities through policies and programs. She highlighted that the Plan will adopt a whole of government approach that enjoins national agencies and local government units to work together to ensure that the implementation proceeds with no one being left behind and that the role and support of private sectors are vital in the successful implementation of the Plan.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE)  Undersecretary Alexander S. Lopez represented DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi. Cusi  is also  MIMAROPA RDC Special BP2  Committee Chairperson and  MIMAROPA Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security.

Lopez read Secretary Cusi’s message and emphasized that the BP2  Program is expected to create, maintain, and sustain balance amid disruptions caused by the pandemic to the economy, society, and environment. With health and economic crises continuously causing reverse migration, he said that it is necessary to ensure that the Regional BP2  Action Plan is purposeful, deliberate, and responsive not only to produce workshop outputs but more importantly to deliver services that satisfy the public and allow responsible agencies and partners to make things work and get things done within the limited timeline and funding.

He also emphasized that the success or failure of the BP2  Program is not only determined by a good plan but by the people who will implement it and those who will express satisfaction about it. He added that leadership and empathy must be practiced at all levels, collaborating towards a common goal that is balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources, and opportunities through the BP2 Program. He enjoined everyone to continue to build a sustainable MIMAROPA region.

On the other hand, Office of the Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog Head Executive Assistant Romulo S. Romero, in his message, expressed his concern on the congestion in urban areas brought forth by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and reiterated the program’s aim to boost countryside development and inclusive growth, provide adequate social services, and promote employment and improved quality of life in rural areas.

During the plenary session, Sumbeling presented the terms of reference of the MIMAROPA BP2 Regional Council, RDC Special BP2  Committee, and BP2 Communication Group and profile of BP2  applicants in MIMAROPA.

Division Chief Sheryll B. Sarabia of the Policy Formulation and Planning Division, NRO in MIMAROPA, meanwhile, presented the activity design for the formulation of the Regional BP2 Action Plan based on Executive Order No. 114 and its implementing guidelines. This was followed by the workshop mechanics presented by Ms. Judy Mae V. Masangkay also from  NRO MIMAROPA.

The participants were organized into four break-out groups/planning committees by key result areas or KRAs. These are the following: (a) good governance for all KRAs by the Development Administration Committee; (b) empowerment of local industries and food security and agricultural productivity by the Economic Development Committee; (c) housing, social welfare, health, employment, and human resource development by the Social Development Committee; and (d) infrastructure development by the Infrastructure Development Committee.

The group discussions, led by the RDC Sectoral Committee chairpersons, focused on the validation of the indicative BP2  results matrix and review of the list of priority programs, projects, and activities or PPAs proposed per KRA under the BP2  Program.

In closing, RDC Secretary and OIC-Assistant RD  Bernardino A. Atienza, Jr. of NRO MIMAROPA thanked everyone for their active participation in the workshop as well as in the identification of indicators for the results matrix. He added that upon validation and assessment of the BP2  applicants by the National Housing Authority and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, determination of pilot areas and crafting of specific action plans for the identified growth areas will be possible.

The MIMAROPA BP2  Action Plan will be presented to the RDC Full Council on December 4  for review and approval.