CALAMBA CITY, Laguna – The Calabarzon Regional Development Council (RDC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Thursday jointly launched the blueprint that will guide the five-province region’s development over the next five years.
In ceremonies held at NEDA’s office in this city, NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the key development strategy capitalizes on the areas' strength as the country’s primary industrial region with five priority industries -- information technology and business process management (ITBPM), metals, electronics, automotives and petrochemicals.
Agnes Tolentino, director of NEDA Region IV-A, said the Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2023-2028 was born out of a recognition that there remained certain gaps in earlier development plans for the region.
It was explained that the identification of developmental gaps led to the formulation of the Calabarzon RDP, put together through a series of consultative workshops with various stakeholders to ensure that the plan will be inclusive and responsive to the needs of the whole region.
“The Calabarzon RDP contains strategies and priority programs and projects to aid the region in attaining full economic recovery and sustaining its gains from the previous years,” said Tolentino.
Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas, who sits as chairperson of RDC, urged stakeholders to support the implementation of the RDP.
“Together, let us embrace this opportunity to create a lasting legacy of progress, resilience and inclusive growth for our region. By working hand-in-hand, we can overcome any obstacle and build a secure future for the generations to come,” the governor said in his speech.
Mandanas stressed the RDC’s crucial role in guiding progress in Calabarzon through “coordinating efforts, developing strategies, allocating resources, monitoring, and evaluating progress and advocating for the RDP.”
The provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon make up the Calabarzon region.
“The RDC can ensure that the plan is communicated effectively to the stockholders, and the public building support for its effective implementation and ultimately contributing to the region’s sustainable and inclusive development,” said Mandanas.
“As the regional development forms the backbone of our country’s progress, particularly in addressing poverty, inequality, and promoting inclusive growth in all regions, we cannot overemphasize the important role played by RDCs in setting the direction for economic and social transformation,” Balisacan said in his speech.
Balisacan also noted that despite the challenges, the country boasts a promising GDP growth performance of 7.6% last year, while Calabarzon's economy exhibited an “impressive growth of 7.8% in 2022.”
It was explained that the region plays a significant role in thriving the country’s economic growth as the 2nd largest contributor to the national economy.
The RDP has two major objectives which are to “develop and protect capabilities of individuals and families”, and “transform production sectors to generate more quality jobs and competitive products.”
It shall be implemented by promoting human and social development, reducing vulnerabilities, and protecting purchasing power, as well as increasing income-generating ability, the NEDA chief further explained.
Among the RDP’s more specific objectives are to boost health; improve education and lifelong learning; establish livable communities; ensure food security and proper nutrition; strengthen social protection; increase employability; expand employment opportunities; and achieve shared market labor market governance.
Further, the plan seeks to modernize agriculture and agri-business, revitalize industry, and reinvigorate services. To achieve this aim, trade and investments shall be promoted; research and development (R&D), technology, and innovation shall be advanced; and inter-industry linkages shall be enhanced, added Balisacan.
Representatives from different sectors manifested their support of the RDP including; Richard Osmond (business), UPLB Chancellor Jose Camacho, Jr. (academe), DPWH Region IV-A Dir. Jovel Mendoza (line agencies), Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez (Congress), Carmona Mayor Dahlia Loyola (LGUs), and Sarah Fabito (youth). (PNA)