National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Assistant Secretary Mercedita A. Sombilla (inset) in her keynote message during the SOCCSKSARGEN Aksyon para sa Ambisyon Philippine Development Plan Forum on July 11, 2017 in Koronadal City.

City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – “For our region, we commit to put our best efforts and take our roles and responsibilities in the successful implementation of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), 2017-2022,” says Regional Development Council (RDC) XII Chairperson and General Santos City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera in his opening message during the Aksyon para sa AmBisyon PDP 2017-2022 Forum at The Farm @ Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City on July 11, 2017.

Chairperson Rivera continued that from this day onward, he is hopeful that everyone who attended the activity is one with the government in the achievement of the PDP 2017-2022, and in the attainment of AmBisyon Natin 2040.

Video presentations of the AmBisyon Natin 2040 and PDP, 2017-2022 were shown, as well as the highlights of the SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Development Plan (RDP) rendered by RDC XII Vice-Chairperson and NEDA XII Regional Director Arturo G. Valero during the said forum. Like the PDP, the SOCCSKSARGEN RDP also has 21 chapters and anchored on the three (3) pillars of the Duterte Administraton – Malasakit, Pagbabago, at Patuloy na Pag-unlad.

In her keynote message, NEDA Assistant Secretary Mercedita A. Sombilla congratulated everyone in attendance and for coming up with an RDP that complements and supports the strategies of the PDP, 2017-2022.

The PDP, 2017-2022 is anchored on the President’s 0-10 point socioeconomic agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is geared toward the realization of the long-term vision entitled AmBisyon Natin 2040.

ASec. Sombilla concluded her keynote message by quoting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia’s opening remarks during the PDP 2017-2022 Launching on June 2, 2017, that “We already have the goal, now here’s the plan. The time has come to turn AmBisyon Natin 2040 into reality. Kaya tayo na’t umaksyon para sa ambisyon!”

An open forum then ensued which was moderated by PIA XII Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Danilo Doguiles. Nine (9) questions were raised by various stakeholders who attended the forum. One of the questions raised was regarding the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers who have returned but could not find a job or work to sustain their family needs. ASec. Sombilla replied that one of the chapters of the plan is about reducing vulnerability of individuals and families and that the government is geared towards coming up with a program that all households shall benefit to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth.

Academe representative Brother Wilfredo E. Lubrico, FMS, President of Notre Dame of Marbel University; Business Sector representative Mr. Mario Cacabelos, Regional Governor of Greater Midsayap Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.; Youth sector representative John Oliver M. Tablazon, 2016 Search for Outstanding Volunteer-Youth Awardee; Basic sector representative Ms. Jovita Felongco; and Local Government Units representative South Cotabato Vice Governor Vicente R. de Jesus, also gave their commitments of support in the achievement of the PDP and RDP, 2017-2022 and in the attainment of a standard of living encapsulated by the phrase: “matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay.”

The activity was capped by the closing message of Vice Governor de Jesus who thanked everyone for coming to South Cotabato and for the commitment expressed by the representatives of different sectors.

The forum was attended by 250 people from the business, basic, religious, and youth sectors together with the Local Government Units, Regional Line Agencies, academe, and the local media. It aims to increase awareness and influence the SOCCSKSARGEN stakeholder’s paradigm in designing socioeconomic programs and activities toward the achievement of the plan and the attainment of the hopes and aspirations of Filipinos. (Apollo Y. Manlawe, NEDA XII-DRD)