Regional Development Council (RDC) IX, through its Secretariat, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) IX, spearheaded the discussions on the formulation of the Zamboanga Peninsula Annual Investment Program (AIP) for calendar year (CY) 2022 through an online orientation via Zoom on 24 July 2020. A total of 174 planners and other stakeholders gathered virtually to discuss the investment priorities of the region for 2022. The participants were from 60 national and regional line agencies (RLAs), six state universities and colleges (SUCs), eight local government units (LGUs), office of five congressional representatives, and 10 RDC IX private sector representatives.

The rationale and objectives of the activity were presented by OIC-RD Phlorita A. Ridao of NEDA IX. The activity aimed to refresh the regional and local planners on the formulation process of the region’s AIP; and to provide a venue for the congressional representatives, provincial LGUs (as representative of the municipal LGUs) and city LGUs to consult with concerned RLAs on the possible fund support for their proposed 2022 priority programs and projects.

Among other concerns, the preparation of the AIP 2022 will consider the proposed interventions relative to the implementation of the Regional Recovery Program from COVID-19, the Supreme Court (SC) decision on Mandanas-Garcia petition, Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict IX Implementation Plan, Memorandum Circular No. 78, series of 2020 on the transfer of regional offices of national government agencies in Region IX from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City, and gender and development.

The CY 2022 AIP shall serve as basis in the preparation and RDC IX review of the FY 2022 budget proposals of the concerned RLAs and SUCs.

In his welcome message, Governor Victor J. Yu of Zamboanga del Sur, the Chairperson of RDC IX emphasized the need for the agencies to consult with LGUs in the preparation of their respective AIPs to ensure alignment with local and national plans and objectives.  He also emphasized the importance of considering the changes COVID-19 might bring in the preparation of the AIP. “Let this challenge be our inspiration for greater commitment to serve our people in Region IX,” the Governor said.

Gearing towards the implementation of the SC decision on Mandanas-Garcia petition, Regional Director Ricky L. Sanchez of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) IX presented the salient features of the draft executive order (EO) on Devolution Transition Plans, and Progress on Complete Devolution Roadmap. Among other items, the draft EO indicates that concerned agencies are expected to prepare complete devolution transition plans which would include programs/projects to be completely devolved, definition of standards for delivery of completely devolved services, strategy for capability building of LGUs, framework for monitoring and performance assessment of LGUs, and organizational effectiveness proposal.

The agency AIPs shall be reviewed by the RDC IX sectoral committees during their respective 3rd quarter meetings in August 2020.   The AIP shall be further reviewed by RDC IX during its 170th Regular Meeting tentatively scheduled on 10 September 2020 for endorsement to respective agency central offices. EO 325, series of 1996, mandates the RDCs to among others, review, prioritize, and endorse to the national government the annual and multi-year sectoral investment programs of the region for funding and implementation. (Ardi Abril T. Layugue, NEDA IX)