The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office Caraga conducted the Caraga leg of the Updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP)                     2017-2022 Virtual Caravan on 18 May 2021 via Zoom and Facebook Live. The Caravan was attended by over 340 participants from the local government units, regional line agencies, academe, civil society organizations, vulnerable sectors, business sector, and the media.

From upper left: Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) Chairperson and Agusan del Norte Provincial Governor Dale B. Corvera, and NEDA Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo O. Abad Santos. From lower left: NEDA Caraga Regional Director Priscilla R. Sonido, Caraga RDC Private Sector Representative for Agriculture Sector Engr. Vivencio P. Ocite Jr., and Dr. Ed Anthony P. Lapay.

The Caravan was able to inform the Caraganons of the medium-term development directions of the Country and the long-term aspirations of the Filipino people contained in the AmBisyon Natin 2040. The Caravan focused on the contents of the PDP, highlighting the realities brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua underscored that COVID-19 and the related community quarantines came at a huge cost to the economy and the people. He encouraged Filipinos to contribute solutions and work together to bounce back from the crisis towards a healthy and resilient Philippines.

Meanwhile, NEDA Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo O. Abad Santos of the Policy and Planning Group discussed the accomplishment of the PDP headline targets for 2017-2019. He also detailed the salient features of the Updated PDP 2017-2022 and discussed the chapter strategies.

Caraga RDC Chairperson and Agusan del Norte Provincial Governor Dale B. Corvera spoke on behalf of Caraga Region. He encouraged the Caraganons to widen their horizons and look into ways to become active partners in the attainment of the strategic outcomes of the PDP and the Caraga Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2022 Midterm Update.

NEDA Caraga Regional Director Priscilla R. Sonido presented the Caraga RDP 2017-2022 Midterm Update. She emphasized the importance of the Caraganons being well-aware of where the Region is heading by 2022 and encouraged stakeholders to take an active role in the attainment of the Region’s goal of becoming the “Fishery, Agro-Forestry, Mineral, and Ecotourism (F.A.M.E.) Center of the Philippines” by 2022.

Participants from various sectors pledge their support to the AmBisyon Natin 2040, PDP, and RDP.

Among the highlights of the Caravan were the presentations of Caraga RDC Private Sector Representative for Agriculture Sector Engr. Vivencio P. Ocite Jr. and Dr. Ed Anthony P. Lapay of Democrito O. Plaza Memorial Hospital who imparted their success stories in their respective fields of work/expertise and shared how the government has helped them to achieve such success. They expressed their support to the AmBisyon Natin 2040, PDP, and RDP and enjoined the private sector, civil society organizations, and common Filipinos to support the same. Relatedly, participants during the Caravan also showed their commitment of support by pledging specific actions towards the attainment of the goals of the AmBisyon Natin 2040, PDP, and RDP. One participant coming from the youth sector expressed “I pledge my support to the Updated PDP and AmBisyon Natin 2040 by being a responsible youth leader.”

In closing, NEDA Caraga Assistant Regional Director Gemima A. Olam thanked all the stakeholders in the Region for their active participation in the Updated PDP 2017-2022 Virtual Caravan and called on the participants to cascade further their takeaways to their colleagues and other partners to expand awareness among Caraganons of the AmBisyon Natin 2040, PDP, and RDP.

The Caraga leg of the Caravan was the eleventh of the national PDP Caravan series and the first in Mindanao. The said national Caravan will run until 26 May 2021.

Article by: Amethyst Joy A. Galos, NEDA XIII