From Top-left to Bottom-right: Hon. Ferdinand L. Hernandez, Hon. Joselito S. Sacdalan, Hon. Rudy S. Caoagdan, Hon. Jose I. Tejada, Hon. Rogelio D. Pacquaio, and Hon. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles
From Top-left to Bottom-right: Hon. Ferdinand L. Hernandez, Hon. Joselito S. Sacdalan, Hon. Rudy S. Caoagdan, Hon. Jose I. Tejada, Hon. Rogelio D. Pacquaio, and Hon. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles

Batasang Pambansa, Quezon CityUnited by the common goal of  bringing development to the SOCCSKSARGEN Region, the representatives of the eight congressional districts of SOCCSKSARGEN Region converged and consolidated their support for a more responsive, focused and results-based budget for the region in 2021.  

With the Hon. Ferdinand L. Hernandez of the 2nd District of South Cotabato, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives as Convenor, the Regional Development Council (RDC) XII – Advisory Committee (RDC XII AdCom) met on February 20, 2020 at Belmonte Hall, Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City. Together with the Council’s Executive Committee (ExCom), the AdCom reviewed the 2021 Budget Proposals of nine major line agencies with the most critical projects for the development of SOCCSKSARGEN. 

The meeting was jointly presided  by the RDC XII Chairperson, Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera and Cong. Hernandez, as Convenoir. Personally present were  Hon. Joselito S. Sacdalan of the 1st District of Cotabato, Hon. Rudy S. Caoagdan of the 2nd District of Cotabato, Hon. Jose I. Tejada of the 3rd District of Cotabato, Hon. Rogelio D. Pacquaio of the Lone District of Sarangani, and Hon. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles of the 1st District of South Cotabato. Hon. Princess Rihan M. Sakaluran of the 1st District of Sultan Kudarat and Hon. Horacio P. Suansing was represented by their respective staff. Apart from the eight representatives, Hon. Alberto D. Pacquiao, representative of the OFW Party List was also invited and was represented in the meeting by his Chief of Staff. The Council’s ExCom on the other hand is composed of RDC XII Officials, and  Chairpersons and Co-Chairpersons of the Council’s Sectoral Committees namely the Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC), Infrastructure and Utilities Development Committee (InfraCom), Economic Development Committee (EDC), and Macro-Economy, Development Administration and Finance Committee (MEDAFC).

The meeting provided a venue for the congresspersons and  other members of the Committee to be updated and to consolidate their support to the region’s priority projects such as the  Kabulnan 2 Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project (K2MIPP).  Other important sectoral concerns included the  Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST), Tulong Dunong Scholarship, and the Budget Tracking Report  for FY 2020 which showed data of Regional Line Agencies’ (RLAs) proposed budget for their FY 2020 priority programs and projects (PAPs) vis-à-vis the approved budget.

More importantly however, the activity provided the congresspersons with opportunity to review the  priority PAPs included in the  FY 2021 proposed budget of major agencies like  DPWH XII, DepED XII, DSWD XII, DOH XII, CHED XII,  DA XII, PPA and CAAP-General Santos City. DOTr Central Office also presented their budget proposals for the improvement of  the General Santos City International Airport and the Central Mindanao Airport in Tawan-tawan, Mlang, Cotabato. 

A total of 20 resolutions were passed during the meeting. These include request to utilize the DOTr fund in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the development of the Central Mindanao Airport and the endorsement of all proposed FY 2021 budget proposals of the agencies subject to the inclusion of items as instructed by the Advisory Committee. The Committee likewise endorsed the FY 2020 projects of the region’s congresspersons under the so called Congress-introduced increases (CIIs).

The AdCom was established by virtue of Executive Order 325 to further strengthen the coordinative and consultative mechanism in the region specifically to advise, assist,  and support the Council in discharging its functions.   The Committee meets at least once a year. (Michael BJ S. Abellana, NEDA XII-DRD)