24 agencies haven’t moved to new Region 12 center yet

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/3 Nov) – Twenty-four regional departments and line agencies in Region 12 or Soccsargen Region have yet to work out their full transfer to Koronadal City, nearly eight years since it was designated as the official seat and center of the reconfigured region, officials of the Regional Development Council (RDC) said.

Teresita Socorro Ramos, RDC-12 vice chairperson, said their records showed that 41 of the 65 regional offices of national government agencies and departments in the area have already completed their transfer to Koronadal City from Cotabato City, the previous regional center, and other parts of the region.

She said the 24 other regional offices have established satellite or liaison offices in Koronadal City but the RDC had ruled that they should still work for their full transfer to the new regional center.

“We recently sent out letters asking for updates regarding their transfer, especially on their budgets for such purpose, but only seven of them have so far responded,” Ramos said in report released by the South Cotabato Information Office.

Region 12’s regional seat and center was transferred to Koronadal City from Cotabato City based on a new regional configuration mandated by Executive Order (EO) 304 issued on March 30, 2004 by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The reorganized region covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Cotabato, General Santos, Kidapawan, Koronadal and Tacurong. In September 2009, the RDC issued a resolution mandating the full transfer of the regional offices to Koronadal City and set targets for such move.

The RDC 12 earlier targeted the full transfer of all regional offices by the end of 2010 based on timeline indicated in its strategy planning matrix and updated Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for 2008-2010.

But in the last two years, RDC records cited that only three regional line agencies managed to fully transfer to Koronadal City due to various reasons, among them the lack of funds.

Ramos, who is also regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority, said among the major regional line agencies that have not yet transferred to Koronadal City were the departments of Health, Science and Technology, Tourism and Agrarian Reform.

She said the concerned regional offices are either based in Cotabato City, General Santos City, Tacurong City, Kidapawan City and Midsayap town in North Cotabato.

Datu Ali Khan Marohombsar, Department of Budget and Management-Region 12 director, said the 24 regional line agencies should prioritize their immediate transfer to Koronadal City in compliance with EO 304’s provisions.

“They should be here in Koronadal City where majority of the regional offices are located,” he said.

Ibrahim Guiamadel, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 12 director, supported Marohomsar’s call, saying the concerned regional offices should immediately set definite plans and allocate the necessary budget for their transfer to Koronadal City. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)