|The Governor at work. (Photo by WQT)|
LEGAZPI CITY--Albay Governor Joey Salceda has been elected national president of 17 Regional Development Councils.
An economist and former Presidential economic adviser, he has led the Bicol chapter for over four years now, and was cluster chairman for Luzon, presiding over 38 provinces and 67 cities.
As president of the RDC chairmen, Salaceda will sit at the National Economic Development Authority board to help plan and steer the regions’ development direction, along with Cebu City Michael Rama and Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte as cluster heads for Visayas and Mindanao areas, respectively.
The RDC national election was held at NEDA headquarters in Pasig City early this week, during the NEDA Regional Development Committee 10th board meeting where Salceda was requested by NEDA Director General Cayetano Paderanga Jr. to preside.
During the meeting, the committee approved Salceda’s proposal to organize a Special Committee on Mindanao Power to tackle the continuing power instability in the area, as well as the threat of illegal logging in the watershed around Lake Lanao, which contributes almost 54 percvent of the energy supply in Mindanao.
Salceda steered the committee in formulating measures to tackle high power costs, which he referred to as “the biggest single stumbling block to a more sustained and more inclusive economic growth.”
He said the power sector is a “conduit of inequity as in the case of his province, Albay which has been providing the Luzon grid almost 464 megawatts of cheap geothermal energy but gets virtually nothing.”
Under the EPIRA Law, Albay is compelled to purchase the same power from WESM at P7.80 per kilowatt-hour.
As Bicol RDC chairman, Salceda has initiated flagship development projects particularly on multi-modal transport infrastructure.
Among these projects which are now underway are the P3.4-billion Southern Luzon International Airport; the modernization and expansion of the Philippine National Railways especially its Bicol Express, Mayon Limited and Matnog extension; the Bicol Alternate Highway; and the Bicol River Basin program, which integrates Region V’s ‘food basket’ flood control, watershed management and irrigation programs.
*Article written by Florencio P. Narito as published in Manila Standard Today, Thursday January 19, 2012