City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – Socioeconomic Planning Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority Karl Kendrick T. Chua visited the NEDA Regional Office XII on August 31, 2021.

Regional Director Teresita Socorro C. Ramos welcomed the Secretary and his team and expressed her appreciation to Chua for his effort to meet the NRO XII staff despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assistant Regional Director Carmel P. Matabang gave a brief presentation on the NRO XII manpower profile, which also encompassed the vaccination status of the staff and other matters that affected the organizational structure since the onset of the pandemic.

The region’s key development projects were presented by Ms. Sandra J. Alido, OIC Division Chief of the Project Development, Investment Programming, and Budget Division. This was followed by the presentation of pressing regional and internal issues by Mr. Romel Patrick E. Tanghal, Division Chief of the Policy Formulation and Planning Division. The report underscored the slow roll-out of vaccines and the absence of upgrading measures for the Makar Port as among Region XII’s pressing concerns needing Cabinet-level action. The Secretary assured the NRO that he would convey these issues to the agencies concerned, and look into the internal issues raised by the staff.

The Secretary and his team, together with the NRO XII Management, during the presentation of key projects and issues in the region

In his keynote message, Secretary Chua shared his experience in Mt. Matutum, Lake Sebu, and even the interior of Maguindanao province while putting together the Philippines Mindanao Jobs Report of the World Bank, prior to his stint in the government.

“I have fond memories, and I am glad to be back after five years… In a way, this area and the entire Mindanao is important to me and I am glad that slowly we see a lot of progress,” the Secretary conveyed.

The NEDA chief also challenged the staff to do more in these difficult times and implored the staff to respond to the challenge of going beyond what is expected of NEDAns.

“We are in a very difficult time in this pandemic. We have to do more because nowhere in our recent history and generation have we seen such great suffering. I invite all of you to benchmark not with national agencies, but with international agencies and other countries that have really developed their bureaucracies to deliver more”

Secretary Chua stressed the importance of having the end goal in mind by thinking of results and outputs, rather than inputs.

“It is very important that we produce results. In the end, it is not the number of meetings or reports or memos that we do. In the end, it is really the policy, program, or project that actually happened and made people’s lives better.”

Secretary Chua relayed that in the next planning cycle, he intends to put the future in the heart of what we are doing and craft our programs, projects and policies backwards in order to be prepared. This includes pursuing the NEDA Bill with a few improvements, especially on making plans mandatory, rather than recommendatory. He said that this will make NEDA’s work more connected to the budget process and to the eventual programs and policies.

Finally, he thanked NRO XII and all NEDAns for making his eighteen months in service “happy, bearable, and fulfilling.”

“I cannot deliver if the staff are not with me. And I find the regional offices among the most inspiring in my stay in NEDA.”

The Secretary and his team. From left to right: Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, Mr. Renzo Enrico Blanco, Ms. Monica Tricia Rivera, ARD Carmel P. Matabang, RD Teresita Socorro P. Ramos, and Usec. Mercedita A. Sombilla

Secretary Chua was joined by Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla of the Regional Development Group, Mr. Renzo Enrico Blanco and Ms. Monica Tricia Rivera of the NEDA Central Office. (Melissa Gabrielle H. Vargas, NEDA XII-DRD)