Together with the Philippine Economic Society (PES) and the Cagayan State University (CSU), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region 02 co-sponsored the first regional economic conference held on August 1, 2014 at the CSU-Carig Campus in Tuguegarao City.

About 200 students, government workers from selected regional line agencies, officials and staff of the local government units of Tuguegarao City and Tuao, the media, and the academe participated in the conference.

The conference was conducted in the region because “it is in the region where real actions are at play,” averred Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., the Conference Chair and one of the board members of the PES. Dr. Camacho is also the Dean of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Graduate School.

With the theme, “Economics Education and Regional Economic Development towards ASEAN 2015”, the conference was graced by notable personalities in the fields of governance and economics.

Education reforms and good governance

None other than Representative Roman T. Romulo of the Lone District of Pasig City keynoted the conference, emphasizing the importance of education reforms towards regional economic integration for a single market and production base – the end goal of the ASEAN 2015 economic integration.

As Chair of the Higher and Technical Education Committee in the Congress, Rep. Romulo presented the government’s initiatives that are focused on improving education by enacting a number of bills that will assist students and make every one prepared for ASEAN 2015.

One of the highlights of the conference was the induction of Rep. Romulo as a member of the PES. This was witnessed by his wife Shalani, who was on her first visit to the Region.

Meanwhile, Secretary Manuel N. Mamba, the Presidential Adviser on Legislative Affairs and the Head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, was honored as the guest speaker of the conference.

Having a good knowledge of the present regional economic situation with him being a native of Tuao, Cagayan, Sec. Mamba encouraged the participants to “go out of (y)our comfort zones and start helping people” in their own way.

The Secretary added that to achieve President Aquino’s goal of inclusive growth, there should be no obstacles along the way so that economic gains will have a trickle-down effect. Good governance, he said, should not only be implemented at the national level but most especially at the local levels.

Economic performance of Region 02

NEDA Regional Director MaryAnne ER. Darauay presented the state of regional development in the Cagayan Valley Region as contained in the Regional Development Plan. She noted that although the Region’s contribution to the national output was relatively low, the Region’s economy performed well in the last three years.

Dir. Darauay added that the agriculture sector continues to drive the economy, with the Region being the top producer of corn and the second highest producer of rice in the country. She also said that there were noted increases in the number of micro, small, and medium enterprises as well as the number of jobs created in the Region.

Economics education

Dr. Camacho, the President of the Philippine Economic Education Society, discussed the topic on economic education and financial literacy in the Philippines.

The other speakers from the academe were Dr. Stella Luz A. Quimbo, the President of the PES and the Chair of the Department of Economics of the UP School of Economics, and Prof. Amelia L. Bello, an associate professor of economics in UPLB.

Dr. Quimbo discussed the health policy and social insurance in the Philippines, while Prof. Bello presented the principles of teaching a General Education (GE) course in economics.

The conference was hosted by the CSU-Carig campus led by its President, Dr. Romeo R. Quilang, and the Campus Executive Officer, Dr. Archimedes C. Articulo.

Along with Rep. Romulo, the new members of the PES coming from Region 02 were also inducted by Dr. Quimbo during the Fellowship portion after the plenary sessions of the economic conference.#