THE Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas welcomed back Negros Occidental during its Third Quarter Meeting in Kalibo, Aklan Friday, September 8.
This is the first time the province joined the council meeting following the abolition of Negros Island Region (NIR) last month.
The council will also meet with the officials of Negros Occidental led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and the private sector leaders next week in Bacolod City.
Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao, chair of RDC-Western Visayas, who presided the meeting Friday, said the council will play a significant role in integrating and directing the cohesive growth in the Visayas area.
“We will be looking into infrastructure and economic plans, among others, that can be undertaken jointly or separately yet with a unified goal, answering the challenges faced by our country, amid the opportunities presented by the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration,” the governor said.
Cadiao said that the feasibility study on the proposed inter-island link bridges in the Visayas, power connectivity, and plans for increasing air and sea transport connectivity within the Visayas region and with other parts of the country are “our priorities.”
“These will be undertaken on top of our development programs, projects, and activities for Western Visayas,” she added.
Cadiao said the series of consultation meetings were held to fasttrack the integration of Negros Occidental to Western Visayas.
She also said that RDC-Western Visayas will conduct a dialogue with the local officials on September 15.
Marañon and Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia will also present their respective development agenda and proposed projects during the meeting.
Also, the directors of the regional line agencies are expected to provide immediate response and feedback on projects that can be pursued and programmed in the next five years.
Cadiao said she will preside the dialogue “to show to the local officials of Negros Occidental that we in the RDC-6 are committed to provide them full support in the pursuit of their development agenda and in pushing for their major development projects.”
Private sector representatives
The five private sector representatives of Negros Occidental to RDC-6 were also inducted during the meeting yesterday.
The private sector organizations in the province elected four sectoral representatives and one geographic representative on September 5.
These include Frank Carbon, regional governor of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Western Visayas and Negros Occidental, for infrastructure development committee; Christina Marie Gaston, president of Association of Negros Producers, for economic development committee; Fr. Dionisio Nacario, director of Diocese of San Carlos Social Action Center, for development administration committee; and Adelaida Rendon, vice president of Negros Occidental Drug Rehabilitation Center, for social development committee.
Edgardo Uychiat, president of Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Foundation Inc., was elected geographic private sector representative.
Ma. Lina Sanogal, Negros Occidental Provincial Planning and Development officer who represented Marañon in the meeting, said that RDC-Western Visayas chairperson has expressed full support for the Negros Occidental Development Agenda and to push for the major development projects in the province.
The dissolution of Negros Island reverted Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental to Western Visayas and Central Visayas, respectively.