The National Economic and Development Authority Region IX (NEDA IX) conducted an orientation on the formulation of the Zamboanga Peninsula CY 2023 Annual Investment Program via teleconference on 14 October 2021. In attendance were 199 officials and representatives of congressional district offices, local government units (LGUs), national government and regional line agencies (RLAs), and state universities and colleges (SUCs).

The activity generally aimed to further capacitate the region’s development planners on the identification and prioritization of programs and projects, and resource allocation for CY 2023. The said activity was also expected to stimulate consultations among LGUs, RLAs, SUCs and other special bodies, on the formulation of annual investment programs (AIPs).

“With the year 2021 coming to an end, we must push further toward the gradual and safe reopening of the economy in the coming years through effective prioritization and implementation of various programs and projects,” Hon. Victor J. Yu, RDC IX Chairperson and Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, said during his opening remarks. He added that the efficient formulation of the annual investment programs for the year 2023 will help ensure the consistency and alignment of the indicative plans and projects with the national and regional development thrusts, geared towards regional socioeconomic recovery and growth.

Dir. Phlorita A. Ridao, RDC IX Vice Chairperson and NEDA IX Regional Director, further emphasized the linkages between the regional development planning, investment programming, and budgeting processes for CY 2023. The formulation of the AIP 2023 of the region shall be guided by the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2016-2022, Regional Development Plan (RDP), Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Spatial Development Framework, 2016-2045, and Regional Recovery Program.  The identification and prioritization of programs and projects for CY 2023 shall also take into consideration the initiatives on: (1) gender and development; (2) institutionalization of the Whole-of-Nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC); (3) transition to the implementation of  the Supreme Court (SC) decision on Mandanas-Garcia petition; and (4) the implementation of programs and projects covered by RA 11069, “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” and RA 11494, “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act”, and other long-term aspirations such as the AmBisyon Natin 2040 and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

In the implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on Mandanas-Garcia Case, OIC-Assistant Regional Director Alelie Ramos of DBM IX presented the salient features and updates of the Executive Order 138 series of 2021. The said law is expected to contribute to the decentralization efforts of the constitution by developing the capabilities of local governments to deliver basic services and facilities, and ensure accountability, competence, professionalism, and transparency of local leaders.

Among the salient features discussed in EO 138, series of 2021, was the requirement for the affected national government agencies (NGAs) and LGUs to submit their respective devolution transition plans (DTPs) to DBM.  As of 11 October 2021, DBM reported that ten of the national government agencies have already submitted their DTPs, which are currently being reviewed by the DBM. A three-year transition period for the devolution of programs and projects will be provided in order to ensure the sustainability and continuity of the delivery of public service.

EO 325, series of 1996 mandates the RDCs to review, prioritize, and endorse to the national government the annual and multi-year sectoral investment programs of the region for funding and implementation. In compliance thereof, the RLAs and SUCs are set to present their CY 2023 AIP during the respective 4th Quarter sectoral committee meetings in November 2021, for review and endorsement to the Regional Development Council IX. The Council shall subsequently endorse the said investment programs to agency central offices, during its 175th Regular Meeting on 2 December 2021. (Kristelle C. Beniga, NEDA IX)