PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez as the new chairperson of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC).
The National Economic Development Authority (Neda) confirmed the mayor’s appointment as head of the region’s highest policy-making body on Tuesday afternoon, February 14, a few hours after receiving a copy of the letter from Malacañang.
Duterte signed the appointment on February 9. The mayor will serve as RDC chairperson for three years.
“The appointment again affirms the fact that Eastern Visayas is a priority of President Duterte because we are one of the regions having appointed RDC chairperson than most RDCs,” said Neda Regional Director Bonifacio Uy, the acting RDC chair since last year.
Out of 18 RDCs in the country, only five have newly-appointed chairpersons -- Mimaropa, Northern Mindanao, Central Luzon, Soccsksargen, and Eastern Visayas.
Romualdez, a first-termer mayor, is a former actress and city councilor for nine years. She is the wife of former Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez, the nephew of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.
“The leadership of Mayor Romualdez brings honor to the council and timely assurance that the economic recovery of Eastern Visayas shall be effectively steered and accelerated,” Uy said.
The appointment is timely, according to Neda, considering the finalization of 2017-2022 Regional Development Plan and preparations of 2018 budget proposals.
Neda officials, who act as RDC secretariat, will meet with Romualdez Wednesday afternoon.
The mayor was not available for interview on Tuesday, but in a social media post of the city media office, the City Government congratulated the new RDC official.
“The people of the city of Tacloban congratulate you on your appointment... We assure you of our wholehearted support for your well- deserved appointment!” the office said.
On August 31, 2016, the council nominated Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan-de los Santos, Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, and RDC private sector representatives Roy Bernard Fiel, Oliver Cam, and Tiburcio Morales.
The RDC serves as the counterpart of the Neda Board at the subnational level. The RDC is the primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction of all economic and social development efforts in the region. It also serves as a forum where local efforts can be related and integrated with national development activities. (PNA)