By approving the creation of a sub-committee on culture under one of its sectoral committees, the Regional Development Council (RDC) 2 has put premium on the role of cultural awareness in development.

During its 112th regular business meeting held on February 23, 2018 at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Free Port in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, the RDC2 recognized the importance of including a cultural agenda to address cultural fragmentation, perceived distrust, parochialism, and perpetuation of historical injustices, among others.

“The sub-committee on culture shall be created under the Social Development Committee (SDC) as a response to the call to strengthen culture and values concerns in the region,” reported Ms. Perla A. Visorro, Vice-Chair of the SDC, who presented on behalf of SDC Chair Marilou H. Cayco, the provincial governor of Batanes.

According to RDC2 Interim Vice Chair Ferdinand P. Tumaliuan, the OIC-Regional Director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the officials of the sub-committee shall be the Department of Education as Chair, the Department of Tourism as Co-Chair, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as Vice-Chair.

On the other hand, the membership of the sub-committee shall include the Department of Trade and Industry, Commission on Higher Education, Philippine Information Agency, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, NEDA, the five provincial governments, five state universities and colleges, five higher education institutions, and two civil society organizations.

Aside from the creation of the sub-committee on culture, the RDC also endorsed eight other resolutions approving and/or supporting the following development concerns: the implementation of the Information Management System for the disaster response cluster of the Cagayan Valley Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; the conduct of a feasibility study for the improvement of the Port of Aparri; the proposed conversion to a national road of a road traversing the municipalities of Lasam, Sto. Niño, and Piat in Cagayan Province; the utilization of the provincial/city Commodity Investment Plans; and the provision of security support/measures during the implementation of development projects.

Tapping Cagayan Valley’s many potentials

RDC Chair Junie E. Cua, the provincial governor of Quirino, said in his opening message that holding the meeting at the Cagayan Freeport is an opportune time to appreciate the many potentials of the Cagayan Valley Region that remain untapped.

He said that Cagayan Valley has a very strategic advantage given its proximity to other Asian countries like China which is today’s greatest economic powerhouse.

“Greater economic complementation between the Philippines and its northern neighbors such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong should be pushed,” he added.

He further said that the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) can become a great player in this possible economic complementation.

“This way, we can tap Cagayan Valley’s great potential not only as a food basket but also as a strategically located agro-industrial economic hub that plays an important role in this region of Asia,” the governor averred.

CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Raul L. Lambino echoed the same sentiment as he said in his welcome remarks that CEZA envisions to be “a catalyst in the development of Northern Luzon as a full-serviced industrial, agro-industrial, commercial, and tourism enclave and gateway to international markets for the products of East Asia.”

About 40 of the 63 members of the RDC2 participated in the meeting which was hosted by CEZA as part of its 23rd anniversary celebration. CEZA became a member of the RDC in December 1997.