NEDA Regional Office (NRO) X Regional Director Leon M. Dacanay, Jr. welcomed Dr. Gerardo P. Sicat, the first Director General of NEDA  during the latter’s recent visit to  the NRO X office.

“I am very honored to be invited to a place I have put up as an institution in the country,” Dr. Sicat said during  his  short meeting with the staff.  His visit to Region X is part of his continuing study on how the Philippines has improved and the bottlenecks that impede regional developments.

Dr. Sicat underscored the implications of some policy issues that hinder national development such as restricting foreign nationals to own lands in the country, investing  in  the country’s  public infrastructures, and prohibiting them to utilize the country’s natural resources.  “More restrictions on policies such as disallowing foreign capital in public utilities made us unable to exactly generate the kind of activities that need to happen,” he said. Dr. Sicat stressed that foreign investors have greater capacity and capability to contribute to the country’s development.

Dr. Sicat also shared his observations that while most of the infrastructures (such as roads) have greatly improved, there are also areas that depict persistent poverty.  There is a need to continually improve roads for industries to come in and generate employment. “Planning is not only a work of NEDA but of all important institutions integrated into one,” Dr.Sicat emphasized.

He also concurred on the need for the Philippine government’s political will to strictly implement immediate reforestation of logged-over areas. He observed overdevelopment of agricultural lands to the detriment of downstream areas. He particularly mentioned  the pressing need to address the siltation problem of Pulangui IV hydro electric plant in Bukidnon due to extensive deforestation at the upstream areas. “Reforestation is an issue and should be part of the physical framework plan,” Dr. Sicat stressed.