NEDA Regional Office 3 spearheaded the Virtual Caravan on the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) via videoconferencing and livestreaming with the help of Facebook Live on 19 April 2021.  Representatives from various government agencies, LGUs, the academe, civic society organizations, and the business sector participated in the event.

RDC III Chairperson and Bataan Governor Albert Raymond S. Garcia welcomed the participants, and shared his eagerness to hear the government’s overall plan in responding to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. He urged everyone to work together in getting back on track in achieving the goals of Ambsiyon Natin 2040 towards a matatag, maginhawa at mapanatag na buhay.

NEDA Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo O. Abad Santos presented the overview on the updated PDP with its vision to lay down the foundation for inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally-competitive knowledge economy. He emphasized the importance of inequality-reducing transformation as one of the major thrusts in the PDP framework.

“We want to expand economic opportunities, however, expanding the pie is not enough. We also would like to have the poor and marginalized sectors who are lagging behind to have increased access to economic opportunities. There is no sense in increasing the pie if it cannot be equitably shared across sectors and population groups,” he said.

Asec. Abad Santos also presented the key reforms accomplished during the first three years of PDP implementation such as the PhilSys Act, the Ease of Doing Business Act, and the Institutionalization of 4Ps, among others.  “These reforms were very helpful in addressing and cushioning the effects of the pandemic,” he added.

The presentation of the updated PDP was followed by a panel discussion with the following discussants: Hon. Michael L. Galang, Vice Mayor of Floridablanca, Mr. Ronnel T. Golimlim, manager of Widus Foundation, Dr. Cecilia S. Navareso Gascon, president of Bulacan State University, and Mr. Renato G. Romero, Chairman and CEO of Romac Services and past president of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce.

The virtual caravan culminated with the attendees taking the Pledge of Commitment to participate in the realization of the goals of the updated PDP and to support the programs, projects, and activities of the government for socioeconomic recovery and development.

In his closing remarks, NEDA Region 3 OIC Regional Director Agustin C. Mendoza expressed deep gratitude to all the participants and to Bulacan State University Saring Himig Chorale for their perfectly-blended rendition of the invocation. “We need that kind of harmony and coordination to implement the PDP given the variety of development needs and diversity of interventions,” he said.

The event is the third leg of the national Virtual Caravan spearheaded by NEDA and scheduled to run from April 13 to May 26 of this year.

Emmanuel Purzuelo / NEDA 3 DRD