GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 September) — The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 is targeting the full transfer to nearby Koronadal City of about half of the region’s 65 line agencies and offices within the next two years.
Arturo Valero, acting RDC-12 chairperson, issued such target as he lamented that a number of regional line agencies have yet to make any move regarding their mandated transfer or relocation to Koronadal City, which is the regional seat and center of Region 12.
He said most of the regional offices that remained based outside Koronadal City have been facing difficulty in relocating to the area due to funding problems.
The official said there are also agencies that are difficult to uproot from their current bases because of their sizes and operational requirements.
These include the Police Regional Office 12 and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas based in this city and the Department of Health or Center for Health Development-12 in Cotabato City.
“We’re currently focusing our efforts on the smaller offices so we can meet our 50 percent target but we’re continually negotiating with the bigger ones to make the transfer by 2016,” Valero told MindaNews in an interview.
Koronadal City was designated as Region 12’s regional center by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 304 issued in March 2004 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
EO 304 also sets the immediate transfer of all regional line agencies, departments and offices from Cotabato City, the previous regional center, to Koronadal City.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The RDC-12 earlier reported that some 40 regional lines agencies have so far transferred their offices to the area but some of them only established satellite offices.
Seven agencies have already established their offices at the regional government center site in Barangay Carpenter Hill in Koronadal City that was developed by the city government.
These are the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bureau of the Treasury.
The Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Audit and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) are currently working on the construction of their regional offices at the site.
Valero, who is also the NEDA regional director, said the council is currently assisting several regional line agencies in lobbying with their central offices for the allocation of the required funds for the construction of their new office buildings and transfer to Koronadal City.
“At our level, we’re regularly reaching out with concerned department secretaries and other national officials to support the transfer of the regional offices, especially in terms of funding,” he added. (MindaNews)