The Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC), a special committee under the Regional Development Council IX, in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), held its first regional Gender and Development (GAD) Plan and Budget forum on 20 October 2021 via videoconference.

Target participants were GAD focal point system officers and members and secretariat of regional line agencies, state universities and colleges, government owned and controlled corporation, and other government instrumentalities.

RGADC IX Chairperson, and OIC-Regional Director of the Commission on Higher Education IX, Dr. Rody P. Garcia warmly welcomed the participants. He expressed his gratitude to PCW for its constant support to the goal of gender responsiveness, equality, and empowerment in the region.

The forum was attended by 202 participants from various government bodies not only from Region 9, but also from Region 2, and Cordillera Administrative Region.

Speakers from the GAD Resource pool, Ms. Cynthia Lumampao and Mr. Alvaro Fabon Jr., discussed comprehensively the Guidelines on the preparation of annual GAD plan and budget and accomplishment report to implement the Magna Carta of Women and the Harmonized Gender and Development Guidelines, respectively.

On the submission, review, and endorsement of GAD plan and budget and accomplishment report, Ms. Karen Dagñalan-Dy of PCW elaborated on the topic. The Revised Guidelines on the Audit of GAD fund and activities in government agencies were presented and thoroughly explained by the former Assistant Commissioner on Audit, Ms. Lourdes Castillo.

The OIC-Regional Director of the Department of Budget and Management IX, Mark Louie C. Martin joined the technical panel to respond to the clarifications, issues, and concerns raised by the participants. In her closing message, PCW Deputy Director for Operations Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes congratulated the participants for completing the forum despite the challenges being faced by the country due to the pandemic. She enjoined all government bodies in the region to ensure that no woman, man, or child would be left behind in the pursuit of gender-responsiveness and development. (Ric Luke B. Garcia, NEDA IX)