November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

NEDA launches development plan for Region 12

THE NATIONAL Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has launched its Regional Development Plan (RDP) for Region XII or SOCCSKSARGEN.

In a statement e-mailed to reporters on Friday, NEDA announced that the RDP for SOCCSKSARGEN rolled out on Tuesday. Region XII covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Korondal City, Sarangani and General Santos City.

The RDP is designed to align with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 and plans around 10 major themes for the medium term, among them peace, the environment, infrastructure, and safety and resiliency.

“We hope to reverse this trend and transform the Region’s agriculture sector into a competitive industry. SOCCSKSARGEN is endowed with extensive coastlines, valleys and mountain ranges, and is well known for its fertile lands and rich fishery and aquatic resources. It is also one of the typhoon-free regions in the country,” NEDA Assistant Secretary for Regional Development Mercedita A. Sombilla was quoted saying in a statement.

The RDP seeks to make the region’s agriculture sector more competitive; provide students with equal opportunity in basic, higher and technical-vocational education; enhance the region’s social infrastructure and engage basic service workers; and establish community resilience and build infrastructure.

“By giving special attention to increasing agriculture production, particularly high-value crops like coffee, banana, pineapple, palm oil and tuna, as well as developing community-based enterprises, the region will be able to sustain economic growth,” Ms. Sombilla added.

In 2016, SOCCSKSARGEN’s economy grew 5%, up from 3.3% in 2015. It accounted for 18.3% of Mindanao’s total gross regional domestic product and 2.6% of the country’s economy last year.

The RDP recognizes that poverty remains an obstacle in Region XII.

“Regional development and inclusive growth are foremost in this administration’s agenda. With the PDP and the Regional Development Plan, we will see to it that poverty is reduced, especially in the lagging provinces, cities, and municipalities,” Ms. Sombilla said.

The RDP also sought to focus on enhancing the region’s financial management; integrate various land use plans into a Comprehensive Land Use Plan; rehabilitate degraded natural resources and provide opportunities in technical education.

In other developments, NEDA also said that the Quezon City government has yet to submit its City Investment Priorities Plan (CIIP) and adjust its City Development (CDP) to make it in line with the PDP.

“The CIIP is a guide for investors to do business in Quezon City while the CDP sets out objectives and strategies that address concerns unique to the locality,” NEDA stated.

The government of Quezon City has yet to provide details on its CIIP and CDP, though it has noted that sectors in focus include transportation, relocation of informal settlers, environment and ease of doing business. -- Janine Marie D. Soliman