City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – In celebration of the Economic and Financial Literacy Week (EFLW), SOCCSKSARGEN Region conducted a forum intended for the youth and workers in the informal sector on November 7, 2017 at Fred Ann’s Food Hauz, Koronadal City.

The EFLW forum was spearheaded by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office XII in partnership with the Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU).

Students from the State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) of SOCCSKSARGEN Region joined the EFLW forum together with their mentors and university officials. The SUCs that participated were the SKSU; University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, Cotabato Province; Cotabato City State Polytechnic College; and Mindanao State University in General Santos City. The activity was also participated in by workers in the informal sector from cooperatives and non-government organizations, like the Notre Dame Multi-purpose Cooperative; Kaagapay OFW RSC, Inc.; Kagkalimwa Federation; and Oil Palm Growers, among others.

The celebration is pursuant to Republic Act No. 10922, which lapsed into law on July 22, 2016, declaring the second week of November of every year as EFLW.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “O Kita Mo Na: Pag May Alam sa Economiya at Pinansya, Malaki ang Ganansya.”

Regional Director Arturo G. Valero of NEDA Regional Office XII opened the forum and welcomed the participants. In his message, he emphasized the importance of economic and financial education, especially for the youth that will bring them to a “matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay”, as what the Filipino people aspire for themselves and the country as enunciated in the Ambisyon Natin 2040.

Four (4) resource persons shared their knowledge on basic economic and financial concepts, guiding the youth to have sustainable earnings, and for workers in the informal sector to make sound financial decisions.

The EFLW Forum was privileged to have the following resource persons: 1) Ms. Mary Grace S. Molina, the Department Chairperson of AB Economics, SKSU who discussed the topics on supply and demand, inflation, interest rate, return on investment and circular flow of economic activity;  2) Ms. Eileen A. Berdeprado, Supervising Statistical Specialist of the Philippine Statistics Authority XII who shared topics on System of National Accounts, methodology and processes of national accounts estimation and the 2016 Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of Region XII;  3) Ms. Zarinah S. Aligsao, Bank Officer II and Head of the Economic and Financial Learning Center of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-Cotabato City Branch who discussed about Savings and Budgeting and Financial Services; and  4) Engr. Arlene R. Quintero, Bank Officer II and Head of the Economic and Financial Learning Center of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-General Santos City Branch who tackled the topics on Fraud and Scams and Financial Protection.

The activity was also honored to have the representative of SKSU President Dr. Rolando F. Hechanova, in the person of Dr. Ruby S. Hechanova, who gave the closing remarks. Dr. Ruby Hechanova is the Liaison Officer and Halal Project Leader of SKSU. In her message, she stressed the value of financial literacy and savings for individual and for the family.  The knowledge about financial management should be inculcated in the minds of individuals starting from a younger age that will assure him or her of financial successes in life. She expressed her gratitude to NEDA XII for the partnership in the conduct of the forum in the region. (Sandra J. Alido, NEDA XII-DRD)