John Ted Cordero (GMA News)
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has launched the Regional Development Plan (RDP) or the “blue prints”for development in Region XII (SOCCSKSARGEN).
In a statement on Friday, the NEDA said SOCCSKSARGEN’s RDP identified 10 priority medium-term strategies focusing on peace, environment, infrastructure development, and safety and resiliency, according to the NEDA.
The 10 medium-term strategies are the following:
1. transforming agriculture into a competitive agribusiness industry
2. ensuring equal opportunities to basic, higher, and technical-vocational education for all school-age children
3. improving social infrastructure and engaging basic service workers
4. building community resiliency
5. putting up infrastructure that integrate DRR-CCA measures
6. improving public financial management
7. sustaining and supporting government’s peace initiatives
8. integrating different land use plans into the Comprehensive Land Use Plan
9. rehabilitating degraded natural resources
10. providing opportunities in technical education and skills development.
RDPs are development blueprints of the country’s regions patterned after the national plan, or the PDP 2017–2022.
The RDP for Region XII was launched during the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) Forum on Tuesday.
The NEDA said that the RDP also employs a regional spatial strategy framework—or the Sustainable Agri-industrial Development Strategy (SAIDS).
The said spatial strategy seeks to improve the agriculture sector and promote inter-province connectivity by developing three main corridors—the Cotabato City-Kidapawan Corridor, the Isulan-General Santos Corridor, and the Lebak-Maasim-Alabel-Glan Corridor.
The SOCCSKSARGEN region covers South Cotabato province, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Koronadal City, Sarangani, and General Santos City.
Its economy is driven by services and industry while shares of agriculture and forestry have recently been in decline.
“We hope to reverse this trend and transform the Region’s agriculture sector into a competitive industry. SOCCSKSARGEN is endowed with extensive coastlines, valleys and mountain ranges, and is well known for its fertile lands and rich fishery and aquatic resources. It is also one of the typhoon-free regions in the country,” NEDA Assistant Secretary for Regional Development Mercedita Sombilla said.
“By giving special attention to increasing agriculture production, particularly high value crops like coffee, banana, pineapple, palm oil and tuna, as well as developing community-based enterprises, the region will be able to sustain economic growth,” she added.
SOCCSKSARGEN recorded a five-percent GDP growth in 2016 from 3.3 percent growth the previous year. The Region accounts for 18.3 percent of total Mindanao GRDP, and 2.6 percent of the country’s GDP.
However, according to the RDP, poverty remains to be the region’s greatest challenge. Along with this, other development constraints include environment degradation and fragile peace, public order and security.
“Regional development and inclusive growth are foremost in this administration’s agenda. With the PDP and the Regional Development Plan, we will see to it that poverty is reduced, especially in the lagging provinces, cities, and municipalities,” Sombilla noted.