An integrated development strategy to accelerate the development of Regions 1, 2 and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was bared during the 1st quarter Joint Meeting of the Cagayan Valley Regional Development Council (RDC 2), RDC Advisory Committee (AdCom), Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) and Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCALC) and Special Committee on Balik Probinsya Bagong Pagasa Program (BP2) held recently in Ilagan City, Isabela.

The North Luzon Growth Corridor Strategic Plan (NLGCSP) aims to promote an integrated development of the three regions of North Luzon as a strategic growth area. It seeks to improve the domestic and international competitiveness of the North Luzon and take advantage of its proximity to industrialized neighboring countries like China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. This also includes the establishment of economic zones across the corridor to incentivize the private sectors from Asia-Pacific to invest.

With agriculture still the main industry in North Luzon, three special projects have been highlighted in the plan’s strategy. These include the protection and development of the tobacco industry, promotion of farm tourism, and the introduction of bamboo processing technologies.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region 2 added that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has appropriated PhP 500 million to enjoin OFWs to form cooperatives that will undertake the planting of hybrid bamboos. These hybrid bamboos are stronger than Narra and have a very lucrative and ready market, he added.

Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla recommended that the Council create a technical working group to look into the integration of the CEZA study on the Cagayan Free Port into the NLGCSP and submit its recommendations to the RDC. NLGCSP principal proponent, Hon. Deogracias Victor “DV” B. Savellano, Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur Representative likewise enjoined the support of the RDC2 to ensure the realization of the plan.