The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. XIII attended the Philippine Development Plan and the Caraga Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 Regional Launch on August 1, 2017 at the LMX Convention Center in Bancasi, Butuan City.

With the theme “Ikaw, Ako, Kitang Tanan: Kalamboan, Atong Paningkamutan,” the Regional Launch was truly a symbolic gathering of people across all sectors.

Before the program proper, the Exhibits were formally opened by Usec. Adoracion M. Navarro as assisted by the Local Chief Executives and the Regional Directors.

Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada delivered the Welcome Address. NEDA Caraga Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño delivered the Opening Message. She also introduced the keynote speaker.

The Keynote Address was delivered by Undersecretary Adoracion M. Navarro who represented NEDA Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia. Usec. Navarro also presented the salient features of the Philippine Development Plan and the Caraga Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 in a nutshell.

The PDP and the RDP are firmly anchored on AmBisyon Natin 2040, the 0-10 point Socioeconomic Agenda of the Duterte administration, which is geared towards realizing a Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay to assist in laying the foundations of inclusive growth, a high trust society and a globally competitive knowledge economy by the end of 2022.

According to the RDP, the goal of the Regional Development Council is for Caraga to become the Fishery, Agro-forestry, Mineral and Ecotourism (FAmE) Center of the country by 2022.  To become the FAmE Center of the country, the region will develop and utilize its natural endowments, i.e. agriculture, fishery and aquaculture, forestry, mineral and ecotourism. Becoming the FAmE Center of the country requires increasing the productivity of the region’s fishery and agro-forestry sectors through processing and value adding activities and harnessing its tourism industry by particularly developing its vast ecotourism potentials through massive promotions and provision of strategic infrastructure support. “While mining will remain as a key sector, in the interest of sustainable development and protecting ecological integrity, mining activities will be limited to existing mining areas excluding watersheds within the mining concessions. A moratorium on the issuance of new Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) or Exploration Permits (EPs) will be advocated to National Government.  Strict enforcement of environmental laws and regulations will be observed to protect the integrity of the environment.  Rehabilitation of mined-out areas will be strictly undertaken. Value adding and processing of minerals will likewise be pursued rather than just mere extraction of mineral ores,” the RDP states.

The RDP recognizes the fact that the mining industry has become the top contributor to the GRDP for the past years. National and local government support to the mining industry contributed to its substantial growth in the last decade. On the subject of mining, strategies in the RDP include the establishment of Minahang Bayan areas where activities of small-scale miners will be closely monitored in order to ensure their compliance with environmental laws and policies.  On the same note, the Social Development and Management Program fund will also be utilized to ensure that host and neighboring communities have sustainable and eco-friendly livelihood projects.

A transition period should be in place for communities that rely heavily on mining. During this time, alternatives to mining should be identified to introduce sustainable sources of income for the people in the region,” Usec. Navarro imparted. Usec. Navarro stated further that the regulation of mining activities will assist the region in reaching its goal to become the Fishery, Agro-Forestry, Mineral, and Ecotourism (FAmE) Center of the Philippines by 2022.

As articulated in the RDP, mined-out areas will be rehabilitated and transformed into ecoparks for recreation and tourism purposes which will generate employment and create economic opportunities for communities.

We should develop more economic drivers that create a balance of production and environmental protection,” NEDA Caraga Regional Director Cariño said.

Audiovisual presentations entitled Ang Atong Paglambo and The Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 were also viewed by the participants.  Part of the program was a presentation of diverse perspectives and insights called Malasakit, Pagbabago at Patuloy na Pag-unlad: Sectoral Voices on the PDP and RDP’s broad strategies given by Ms. Concepcion C. Asis of People Power Volunteers for Reform; Mr. Sisinio V. Narisma of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Dr. Anthony M. Penaso of Caraga State University.

A mélange of Caraga artists gave an exceptional rendition of The Flame of FAmE: An artistic tale of the RDP 2017-2022 so that the participants will be able to visualize and internalize the promise of economic opportunities and progressive future in store for Caraganons which are vital to the establishment of the foundation for inclusive growth, high-trust society and a globally competitive and climate-resilient knowledge economy as envisioned by the National Government.  It was followed by the ceremony of igniting the Flame of FAmE which was led by Usec. Navarro and select stakeholders.  Usec. Navarro and Dir. Cariño led the Unveiling of the Philippine Development Plan and the Caraga Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 which ensued after the ceremonial ignition of the Flame of FAmE. As the hardbound copies of the Philippine Development Plan and the Caraga Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 were viewed, the invited guests and stakeholders were invited to take part in a congregational dance led by Caraga artists and other performers.

After the program, a press conference was held and participated by NEDA Officials, Philippine Information Agency Caraga Regional Office and reporters from various media outfits where various issues and concerns were raised and discussed.