BAGUIO CITY – NEDA-CAR, as secretariat to the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC), gathered civil society organizations (CSOs) from all over the region to discuss their role as government partners for regional development. The participants also discussed ways to move forward as the current Private Sector Representatives (PSRs) in the RDC will be ending their term and an election for new representatives will be held on July 17 to determine the next set of 14 PSRs. Currently, PSRs a 2-year term-limit.
Based on Executive Order 325, representatives from the private sector comprise one-fourth of the total membership of the RDC. RDC Vice Chair and NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando shared that CSOs are encouraged to participate in the various sectoral committees of the RDC which deals with specific sectoral development concerns such as social development, watershed and environmental management, indigenous peoples’ concerns, among others. Director Rimando added that the CSOs can serve as the voice of their respective sectors in committee meetings where the bulk of the work of the RDC is conducted. CSOs in the RDC have also played a major role in raising awareness on and gaining support for the achievement of regional autonomy, particularly in the grassroots sector.
Participants welcome their involvement in the RDC as they say it provides them the opportunity to serve as “watchdogs” of government projects and programs. RDC PSR Ferdinand Gonzales reiterated that CSO involvement in the RDC is anchored on the principle of volunteerism.
Additionally, participants provided suggestions to enhance their CSO participation in the RDC. Recognizing the mandate of EO 325, the CSOs suggested increasing private sector involvement to half instead of the mandated one-fourth total membership in the RDC. One participant also urged to revive the Agriculture sectoral committee of the RDC. Currently, that committee has been absorbed in the Economic Development Committee.
Atty. Nellie Olairez of the Baguio Association of Purified and Mineral Water Refillers appreciated the initiative of the RDC to invite more CSOs. She shared that participatory government is essential in a democracy. Long-time RDC partner Dr. Paulina Sawadan urged those in attendance to share what they have learned during the meeting to their respective organizations and improve the involvement of the private sector in government projects and programs. CSOs in attendance agreed to meet on July 17 to elect the new set of PSRs who will serve as their voice in the RDC for 2019 to 2022.
Accredited CSOs who are interested to join the RDC need to fill up a general information form for registration. They may also nominate their PSRs by accomplishing a nomination form. Both forms can be found on the NEDA-CAR website. Organizations must submit their nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before July 4.
Only CSOs accredited by government agencies or local government units can register and submit their nominees. To qualify, CSOs must meet have the following qualifications: the CSO must be register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) o any government agency and LGU, the CSO must have conducted socio-economic activities for at least three years from date of registration in the region, and the CSO must be owned and managed by a least 60 percent Filipinos.
For more information, contact the RDC-CAR secretariat, NEDA-CAR, contact no. 442-3232, 448-0041.
By Marlo Lubguban, NEDA-SPCAR