President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. directed the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to coordinate the formulation of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) during his First State of the Nation Address on 25 July 2022. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) IX, as the Technical Secretariat of Regional Development Council (RDC) IX, conducted a series of area consultation-workshops across all provinces and cities in the region to generate inputs and recommendations for the formulation of the Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Development Plan (ZamPen RDP) 2023-2028. The said consultations were conducted on the following dates, namely:

Zamboanga del Sur25 October 2022Hotel Guillermo, Pagadian City
Zamboanga Sibugay27 October 2022Cecille’s Catering and Pension House, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay
Zamboanga del Norte03 November 2022Top Plaza Hotel, Dipolog City
Isabela City03 November 2022Joveth’s Eatery, Isabela City
Zamboanga City04 November 2022Grand Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga City

The area consultation-workshop is aimed at engaging stakeholders at the local level in identifying issues and gaps in the ZamPen RDP 2017-2022; set goals, objectives and targets to address the issues; formulate strategies; recommend amendments, research areas and passage of legislative agenda; and identify priority programs and projects for integration into the plan.

A total of 259 participants attended the five area consultations. Among the participants during the area consultation-workshop were RDC IX members: RDC IX Co-Chairperson Fr. Enrico V. Montano, PSR Rolando A. Soliva, PSR Lucila J. Dagwan, PSR Thicks B. Gapor Jr., PSR Pedro Rufo N. Soliven, PSR Ben Nasser B. Isnain, and OIC-Regional Executive Director Ronald D. Gadot of DENR IX. Also present were Zamboanga del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan/ Panglungsod (SP) officials, namely, Vice-Mayor Senen O. Angeles of Dipolog City, SP Board Member Patri B. Chan, SP Board Member Leo Nicanor B. Mejorada, and SP Board Member Dante G. Bagarinao. During the Zaboanga del Sur consultation-workshop, present were Board Members of Juan C. Regala and Rogelio J. Saniel, and City Councilors of Pagadian City, namely, Ariel J. Lim Jr. and Patrisha Kaye N. Asugas. In Zamboanga City, officials present were Councilors Joselito A. Macrohon and El King K. Omaga. Among the participants in all areas were department heads of local government offices, heads and technical staff of the provincial offices of regional line agencies, private schools in the area, and private sector organizations.

One of the highlights during area consultation-workshops was the enhancement of the region’s vision as the “center of sustainable agri-fishery industries of the Philippines” to include other sectors such as tourism, ecozone, and transportation. In Zamboanga del Norte, the discussion focused on how the province, being one of the poorest provinces in the country, could contribute to the country’s 8-point socioeconomic agenda in terms of job creation and poverty reduction. In Isabela City, it was proposed to include in the vision the sustainable and inclusive tourism where culture is alive, celebrated, and a way of life. In Zamboanga City, it was raised to have an in-depth assessment of the vision and well-mapped resources produced and created in the region. In Zamboanga Sibugay, the body suggested the retention of the old vision considering the region’s attainment of the parameters of the vision to some extent.  In Zamboanga del Sur, the group recommended the enhancement of the vision statement by emphasizing the need to establish a stable economy in Zamboanga Peninsula as key toward sustainable development. Overall, the participants were challenged to think outside the box on other possible strengths of the peninsula such as, industries, manpower and the value addition on the current raw materials produced in the region.

The crafting of the successor RDP is aligned with the long-term vision of the Filipinos to have a “matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay” by 2040, and the region’s overall goal of sustainable economic growth for a prosperous, inclusive and resilient Zamboanga Peninsula. NEDA IX, as secretariat of RDC IX, spearheaded the conduct of the first regional consultation workshop on September 07, 2022 at Mardale Hotel in Pagadian City, which was attended by 150 participants.    The second round of regional consultation workshop will be conducted on November 16, 2022 targeting around 200 participants. The draft ZamPen RDP 2023-2028 will be presented to RDC IX for its approval during its 179th Full Council Meeting tentatively scheduled on December 07, 2022. (Elvy Angelie T. Magdadaro, NEDA IX)

Director Ridao (far right) answers questions raised by the participants during the open forum on the Zamboanga del Sur Area Consultation-Workshop on October 25, 2022 at Hotel Guillermo, Pagadian City
Participants during the Zamboanga Sibugay Area Consultation-Workshop on October 27, 2022 at Cecile’s Catering and Pension House, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay
Breakout session during the Isabela City Area Consultation-Workshop on November 03, 2022 at Joveth’s Eatery, Isabela City
Plenary session during the Zamboanga del Norte (ZDN) Area Consultation-Workshop on November 03, 2022 at the Top Plaza Hotel, Dipolog City
Breakout session during the Zamboanga City Area Consultation-Workshop on November 04, 2022 at Grand Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga City