Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua and Undersecretary for the Regional Development Group (RDG) Mercedita Sombilla visited on Monday, August 30, the NEDA Regional Office in Davao City for the first leg of their visits to the Mindanao’s NEDA offices.
The NEDA chief and undersecretary were welcomed by NEDA XI Regional Director Maria Lourdes Lim and Assistant Regional Director Gilberto Altura.
NEDA XI Regional Director Lim, who led the tour around the vicinity, showed Secretary Chua and Undersecretary Sombilla the damages in the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) XI caused by the devastating earthquake which jolted Davao City in the last quarter of 2019.
Considering the urgency of the matter, Secretary Chua contacted DPWH Undersecretary Maria Catalina E. Cabral to follow up on the needed assistance in repairing the said government office to ensure the safety of the employees. Prior to this, the damages in the building were also brought to the attention of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar by the NEDA Chief and NRO XI.
In his speech delivered before NRO XI employees, Secretary Chua reiterated the vital role of NEDA in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. According to him, NEDA, as an independent planning agency, must ensure that policies are data-based and are objective.
He added that the economic slowdown the country was experiencing was due to high risk aversion, which resulted in low economic productivity.
However, Secretary Chua said that the government is doing its best for the country to recover by safely re-opening the economy by allowing people to work while strictly following the health protocols.
RD Lim also presented quick facts about the Davao Region, the activities of the NEDA and RDC Davao, and the development concerns of the office and the region.
These include: 1) capacity-building activities in preparation for the next medium-term plan formulation; 2) proposed NRO restructuring; and 3) the issuance of a Presidential Proclamation for the proposed Davao Regional Government Center.
The ONE-Davao, represented by its president, Sr. EDS Emil Clarito, also raised employee welfare concerns such as 1) the continuation of mental health and well-being programs for NEDAns due to increased stress brought about by the pandemic and 2) possible provision of Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) services.
These concerns were all responded to by the Secretary, and he assured the NEDA Davao officials of his full support.
EDS I Angelo Alfonso M. Tesoro III
NEDA Regional Office XI – ORD Staff