City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – Presidential Decree No. 107, dated January 24, 1973, was promulgated creating, under the Integrated Reorganization Plan (IRP), the National Economic and Development Authority as mandated in the 1973 Constitution.

As NEDA celebrates its 45th Anniversary with the theme: “One NEDA Through the Years: Promoting Malasakit, Pagbabago, at Patuloy na Pag-unlad”, Regional Director Arturo G. Valero of the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) XII was the guest of the first episode of the CY 2018 Kapihan sa PIA XII, anchored by Ms. Aida C. Agad, Information Officer (IO) III and Danilo Doguiles, Officer-In-Charge of the Philippine Information Authority (PIA) XII on January 23, 2018 at City Mall, Koronadal City.

RD Valero said that the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) XII was first established in Cotabato City pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 742 dated 1 August 1975, restructuring the regional groupings of the provinces in Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi area. On 25 October 1975, NRO XII became operational with the following divisions to facilitate its operational concerns: the Plan Formulation, Program Coordination and Administrative Division. With the recent implementation of the Rationalization Plan of the NEDA pursuant to EO No 366 dated 04 October 2004, a shift from sectoral to functional compartmentalization was adopted.

RD Valero, also shared salient information on the agency particularly on its history, functions and recent achievements. He said that the agency (a) serves as the Technical Secretariat of the Regional Development Council (RDC) particularly in the coordination of plan formulation and investment program, updating and implementation at the regional level, (b) provides technical assistance to RLAs, LGUs, regional development coordinating bodies and other stakeholders in the region in identifying and developing regional programs and projects, and (c) monitors, assesses, and prepares status reports of regional socioeconomic performance and implementation of major programs and projects.

RD Valero highlighted the various development efforts in the region that NEDA XII has been involved with specifically on the crafting of the Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2022 together with its accompanying document the Regional Development Investment Plan (RDIP) 2017-2022; assessment and updating of the Regional Physical Framework Plan (RPFP), 2004-2030; advocacy of AmBisyon Natin 2040, PDP and RDP; and monitoring of several big ticket projects such as the General Santos City Aerotropolis Project, among others.

When asked by Ms. Agad on how NEDA determines what should be included in the national and regional plans, RD Valero said that consultations are done with various sectors ranging from individual Filipino citizens, civil societies and non-government organizations, development partners, the academe, and the business and private sectors to formulate the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), and in the case of the Region, the Regional Development Plan (RDP).

During the open forum, Ms. Hannah Naanep, Philhealth Regional Information Officer, asked RD Valero on existing developments on the establishment of a Regional Hospital in SOCCSKARGEN Region. RD Valero said that a bill has already been filed in Congress for the establishment of the SOCCSKSARGEN General Hospital in Surallah, South Cotabato authored by Congressman Ferdinand L. Hernandez of the 2nd District, of South Cotabato. RD Valero informed Ms. Naanep that he is optimistic that the bill will soon be enacted into law.

The event was attended by media men and information officers of the various regional line agencies and local government units in the region. (Joseph Didius L. Clave, NEDA XII-DRD)