February 29, 2024

The Regional Development Council Cordillera called for a united Cordillera in overcoming the challenges of the Covid-19, in continuing the work towards regional autonomy and development and in helping the government in nation building.
 “While we were busy implementing policies and programs towards further development in our respective local government units, the Covid-19 forced us to make readjustments in our priorities. Because of our resilience, our perseverance, our optimism as Cordillerans, we will survive, we will recover, we will overcome because we, the Cordillerans, see difficulties as opportunities to be our best”, Abra Gov. Maria Jocelyn Bernos, RDC Cordillera chair, said in the State of Region Address (SORA) on July 29.
“As we are certain that the Covid-19 is not the last formidable adversary that we shall go up against, let us prepare ourselves to work with more challenges, armed with the Cordilleran courage, dignity, and resilience, and guided by our vision of an autonomous region where the benefits of development are enjoyed by all.”
Bernos also highlighted the gains of the Cordillera for 2019, which include improved employment rate; increase in investments for Philippine Economic Zone and stock corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorship firms registered by the Department of Trade and Industry; and slight recovery in the agriculture sector after huge losses during typhoons Ompong and Rosita in 2018.
The governor also commended the LGUs that improved their competitiveness ranking in the 2019 Cities and Municipalities Competitive Index, namely the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Mountain Province; the cities of Baguio and Tabuk; the capital towns of Bangued, La Trinidad, and Lagawe; and the municipalities of Lagayan, Maibcong, Luna (Abra); Bakun, Kabayan, Tuba (Benguet); Alfonso Lista (Ifugao); and Pasil, Tinglayan, Paracelis, and Tadian in Mountain Province.
Bernos also reported that poverty incidence reduced from 22.7 percent in 2015 to 12 percent in 2018.
In terms of infrastructure development, paved national roads have increased from 86 percent in 2017 to 94 percent in two years.
The regional trunkline under the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project registered 99 percent completion in 2019.
She also cited the accomplishments on health infrastructure under the Health Facility Enhancement Program and school buildings under the Basic Education Facilities Fund, and the aggressive efforts in reforestation under the National Greening Program and the maintenance and protection of the region’s forest cover.
“Moving forward, we shall continue to build from the momentum of previous years to ensure that our growth as a region is inclusive and sustainable; that basic services are available and accessible to all, and most importantly, that we finally succeed in our quest for regional autonomy,” Bernos stressed.
The Philippine Information Agency-led Kapihan media forum at the RDC Hall at the National Economic Development Authority-CAR served as the culminating activity of the Cordillera Month.
NEDA Regional Director Milagros Romando also presented the highlights of the 2019 macro economy report and impacts of the Covid-19 health crisis to regional development.  
Sectoral committee reports were also presented by  DTI Regional Director Myrna Pablo on economic development; DSWD Regional Director Leo Quintilla on social development; DILG Regional Director Marlo Iringan on development administration; DENR Regional Director Ralph Pablo on environment; Ryan Dale Mangusan on indigenous people’s concerns; and Reinaldo Bautista Jr. on infrastructure development. – Carlito C. Dar