Eastern Visayas Development Authority bill gets House panel's nod

THE House committee on government enterprises and privatization approved on Wednesday, February 19, approved a bill which seeks to establish the Eastern Visayas Development Authority (EVDA).

House Bill (HB) 1155, which was filed by Tingog Party-list Representative Yedda Marie Romualdez and her husband House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, will provide the powers, functions, and funds of EVDA.

The lawmakers said the importance of establishing such authority is especially relevant when strong typhoons are expected to batter in Eastern Visayas.

“In 2013, typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons in recorded human history, flattened parts of Eastern Visayas, leaving behind a trail of devastation that has tragically resulted in loss of lives, livelihood, and property. But even as it rises from the typhoon, the region continues to be caught up in the vicious cycle of poverty,” the Romualdez couple said.

“Given this situation, there is a need to establish an effective institutional mechanism to be exercised through a unified responsive agency. This will address the need for a coordinated and integrated approach in the formulation and implementation of the plans, programs, and projects geared towards economic growth and development in the region,” they added.

The couple also said the bill’s enactment would serve as proof of their commitment to empower the local government units (LGUs) in the Eastern Visayas.

“With EVDA, we can ensure that our investment priorities and promotion strategies are in sync with our development needs and our regional strengths such as our geographical location, our skilled human resources, and our immense tourism potentials,” the lawmakers said.

Under the bill, the EVDA will cover all provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte, Biliran and Southern Leyte, the independent city of Ormoc, and Tacloban.

The authority will have its head office in Tacloban City, and may also establish satellite offices in Metro Manila. (SunStar Philippines)


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