In a move to collaborate efforts to address peace and development matters in the region, the Cagayan Valley Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) held a joint meeting on February 26, 2019 in Tuguegarao City.

In his opening remarks, RDC2 Chairperson Gov. Junie E. Cua said that more work still needs to be done to develop the region further despite the many accomplishments both Councils have achieved in the last three years.

“Let us take advantage of our strong complementation with our more developed neighbors such as Hong Kong, China, and Japan which have high cost of labor, the best technologies, and sufficient overflowing capital,” he quipped.

Also present during the meeting was Cagayan Provincial Governor Manuel N. Mamba, the Chair of the RDC2 Infrastructure Development Committee, who also spoke of the region’s high potential to be the best place in the country to invest in.

“The most attractive investor-friendly environment today is Cagayan Valley Region, particularly in Northern Luzon as we are the nearest to the giants of Asia who have evolved to become the giants of the world now,” said Governor Mamba.

Governor Cua and Assistant Regional Director Elpidio Durwin of the DILG, who represented the RPOC, jointly led the discussions and the approval of the following: (1) request for mobile phone service providers to strictly comply with Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act; (2) mobilization of community volunteers to ensure the provision of quality modern family planning commodities and services; (3) request of the Home Development Mutual Fund for an extension of the period for the construction of its office building at the Regional Government Center; (4) construction of two iconic bridges in Cagayan Province; and (5) request for funding and implementation of road projects to improve tourism and industry and trade in the region.

The two Councils also approved the Updated Regional Development Investment Program for 2017-2022, which captures the updated list of priority programs and projects in the region that are expected to be funded and implemented from 2019 to 2022.

Also, RDC2 Vice Chair OIC-Regional Director Dionisio C. Ledres, Jr. of NEDA gave a short presentation on some of the region’s needs and issues that need to be elevated to the appropriate members of the Cabinet of the Philippines, including the improvement of the region’s connectivity to Metro Manila, development of border municipalities, heavy siltation of the Cagayan River, lack of employment opportunities for college graduates, and support to farmers who will be affected by the rice tariffication law, among others.

For the RPOC, Col. Laurence Mina, Brigade Commander of the 502nd Infantry of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Regional Director Atty. Roselyn A. Borja of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency gave updates on the convergence of government interventions in insurgency-affected areas and on the drug situation in the region, respectively.

Moreover, reports on the region’s peace and order situation were presented by Police Superintendent Roberto Bucad of the Police Regional Office 02 and Regional Director Elaine Banaynal of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

The joint meeting served as a venue to emphasize the interaction between peace and development as they go hand in hand, according to Secretary Raul L. Lambino of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), which hosted the meeting.

“We cannot achieve one without the other, they are inseparable: peace is imperative of development, but development that does not trickle down to the grassroots will sooner or later upset the balance of peace,” said the CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer.