On 17 March 2021, the 16th Central Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC III) held its Sixth Regular Full Council Meeting through videoconferencing to discuss the budget proposals of the regional line agencies (RLAs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the region for fiscal year 2022, among others.

The meeting was presided by RDC III Chairperson and Bataan Governor Albert Raymond S. Garcia and attended by 56 members from regional line agencies, local government units and the private sector.

In his opening message, Gov. Garcia emphasized that there is a need to examine the budget proposals of RLAs and SUCs to guarantee that they will serve as the financial expressions of the region’s social and economic goals during these difficult times and ensure that they will firmly bridge the road to recovery. 

Gov. Garcia added that the proposed budgets for the ensuing year must take into consideration the implementation of the Joint Mandanas-Garcia petition, and therefore, should be centered on policy and standards development of service delivery, provision of technical, monitoring, and performance assistance to LGUs, and subsidies for local projects of LGUs that belong to the 5th and 6th income classes, the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs), and those with the highest poverty incidences.

On the sidelines of the budget review exercise, RDC III Vice-Chairperson and NEDA 3 OIC Regional Director Agustin C. Mendoza presented two (2) master plans which intend to guide development planners and decision makers in formulating policies and programs that will (i) promote the growth of investments and (ii) improve the competitiveness and connectivity of cities and municipalities in the region, and (iii) reduce their vulnerability to risks and hazards.

These plans are: (i) Master Plan for Sustainable Infrastructure Development in Olongapo City and Its Immediate Environs, (ii) 2) Integrated Infrastructure and Investment Development Plan for the Investment Corridors in Central Luzon.

Director Mendoza articulated that by coming up with public investment blueprints that will expand the infrastructure base, accelerate connectivity and linkages, ensure food security, advance human capital development, promote industrial growth, and effect sound urban development, the region will be assured of realizing its AmBisyon 2040 of having a “prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor”.

At the end of the meeting, a total of 36 resolutions was passed by the RDC III Full Council, including the PhP359.68 billion total proposed budget for the region for FY 2022, broken down as follows: PhP134.16 billion for Social Development; PhP 196.65 billion for Infrastructure Development; PhP28.07 billion for Economic Development; and (iv) PhP 800.9 million for Development Administration. – Maria Theresa G. Viola / RDC III Technical Secretariat