The Regional Development Council (RDC) XI and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) XI spearheaded a Media Partnership Forum on April 3, 2014 at the NEDA-RDC XI Center, Bangkal, Davao City. It was participated by media practitioners and representatives of the different media organizations in Davao Region, including those from TV, radio, print media and social media. Also in attendance were staff from the Philippine Information Agency XI and officers of the Communication for Development Network (C4DNet), the communication and advocacy arm of the RDC XI.

RD Maria Lourdes D. Lim, Acting RDC XI Chairperson and NEDA XI Regional Director, welcomed the participants of the Forum and shared with them that the activity aimed to build institutional and sustainable partnership between the NEDA XI/RDC XI and the Region’s media organizations for undertaking advocacies in the successful implementation of the Region’s development agenda, as embodied in the Updated Plan, 2014-2016; deepen awareness of the Region’s media practitioners on the Updated DRDP, as well as the critical investments and the regional targets as outlined in its accompanying documents; and identify strategies and approaches to effectively facilitate and strengthen Plan advocacies. Essentially, the Media Partnership Forum sought to formally establish a NEDA-RDC XI Press Corps that shall function as the official private media pool of the RDC XI and NEDA XI, to cover RDC XI events and news briefings on Plan implementation and updates on Davao Region’s development.

Assistant Secretary Efren F. Elbanbuena, the Forum’s Resource Speaker, delivered a presentation on the “Role of the Media in Regional Development,” to highlight the importance of the media in accelerating inclusive growth and development in the Region. Another Resource Speaker Maj. Jake Obligado of the AFP’s 10th Infantry Division shared experiences and strategies in teaming up with the media as their effective partner in the fight against insurgency and in the promotion of security and peace and development in Davao Region. Other inputs to the activity included a briefing of the role of NEDA and the RDCs in Regional Development, as well as the Updated RDP and its core targets. It was emphasized throughout the activity that in effectively implementing the Updated Plan and steering regional development, partnerships were needed, especially with the media, given their critical roles in regional development.

The various private media practitioners of the Region responded favorably to the partnerhship and supported the move of creating an official Press Corps as this would allow them to have direct access to the development issues of the Region, as well as be updated on the development initiatives to be undertaken. The media also mentioned that through a Press Corps, news, particularly on economics, business, and social development can be more easily sourced, since the Regional Development Council XI provides convenient access to the Region’s Local Chief Executives, Regional Executives of National Government Agencies, and other stakeholders who can influence development policy-making in Davao Region.

The Media Partnership Forum is part of a series of activities that the Regional Development Council XI and the NEDA XI is spearheading to further the advocacies of the Updated Davao Regional Development Plan, 2014-2016. The Press Corps shall be formally organized in May 2014. In coordination with the PIA XI, regular RDC XI press briefings shall be conducted starting in the same month, with the RDC XI Press Corps and the C4DNet. (JBBusque, EDS II – DRD)