QUEZON CITY – Congressman Elias Bulut of the lone district of Apayao urged more involvement of the Cordillera representatives in the Regional Development Council (RDC) during the RDC Advisory Committee meeting on August 14, 2019. “My colleagues here in Congress have been talking and we agreed we need a more harmonious relationship between Cordillera Congressmen and the RDC,” Bulut said. As a former governor and member of the RDC, Bulut recognized the potential of having the Cordillera legislators attend and become members of the region’s highest policy-making body.
Ifugao representative Solomon Chungalao, addressing the regional line agency heads who were present in the meeting, said, “We are the ones obligated to defend your budget in Congress,” adding he wants to ensure bills, such as the Cordillera Organic Law, will not be “mutilated” in Congress and clarified that being part of the RDC can help ensure that proposed laws and budgets recommended by the RDC can go through legislation as intended.
Mountain Province lone representative Maximo Dalog emphasized that the RDC and the Cordillera congressional representatives have one goal, the development of our region, while Kalinga Representative Allen Jesse Mangaoang emphasized it is not just the budget that the CAR representatives are concerned about but also they need the support of the RDC in the bills they file.
RDC Vice-Chair and NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando agreed that while the membership of the CAR representatives in the RDC is ideal, she said Executive Order 325 does not provide for their membership, adding that it has been the RDC-CAR’s initiative to invite all congressional representatives to the RDC meetings but indeed it would be much better to have you them in the RDC as members.
Development Administration Committee Chair and DILG-CAR Regional Director Marlo Iringan accepted the task of reviewing EO 325 to study the need for an amendment to have Cordillera representatives as members. This matter will be raised during the next RDC meeting to be held in Apayao in November with Governor Eleanor Bulut-Begtang and Congressman Elias Bulut agreeing to host the said meeting.
Currently, the RDC-CAR is CAR’s highest policy-making body which coordinates and sets the direction of regional development. It is composed of local chief executives, heads of regional line agency under the NEDA Board, representatives from the private sector, and special non-voting members from both the public and private sectors.
By Marlo T. Lubguban