MANILA –The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) facilitated a dialogue between the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) and the central offices of national government agencies (NGAs) to discuss regional and local priority programs and projects in relation to the agencies’ priority thrusts for 2016.

NEDA pushed for the revival of the dialogue, which was last conducted in 2006, also to strengthen the role of the RDCs in the budget process. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) included this activity in the Budget Call for CY 2016.

“These dialogues are part of our strategy of paying greater attention to geographic considerations to achieve inclusive growth. We would like to see growth happening in more regions so we are looking into the potentials and area-specific needs of regions with the help of the RDCs,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

The dialogue was held at the NEDA Central Office, Pasig City last March 31, 2015.

“At the same time, this is also a good opportunity for the RDCs to directly express their budget and development concerns to their national government counterparts,” the Cabinet official added.

The DBM presented an overview of the budget process while the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Education presented their budget thrusts and priorities to the RDCs.

In turn, the RDCs discussed their priority programs and projects that they deem crucial for their respective regions’ development. These include construction or repair of roads leading to airports and seaports, tourism convergence, and flood control management. Agriculture-related training courses for students were also highlighted. In addition, the RDCs raised the need to properly design, prioritize farm-to-market roads, as well as to maintain them once constructed.

The RDCs also pointed out that poverty incidence of provinces and vulnerability to disaster should be considered in allocating funds to localities.

The dialogue was attended by Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo (Chair, RDC 4B), Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla (Chair, RDC 8), Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto (Chair, RDC 7), Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. (RDC 3). RDC Private Sector Representatives and Agency Regional Offices also attended.

“The dialogue has been helpful. We will definitely take note of what we have heard from the RDCs and we agreed to sustain this kind of discussion in the coming months as we craft the budget for 2016,” Balisacan said.