P.D. No. 1 and regional development: What happened?

By: Fernando Fajardo September 20,2018 - 09:00 PM

On this day in 1972, Marcos issued Proclamation No 1081 putting the country under martial law. Three days later, Marcos issued P.D. No. 1 which approved and adopted as part of the law of the land the Integrated Reorganization Plan (IRP) of the Executive Branch of the National Government as prepared by the Commission on Reorganization.

Part VI of the IRP transformed the National Economic Council into the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). One of the main functions of NEDA is to prepare the national development plan to guide government actions and as a signal to the private sector where they should direct their efforts.

Part VII of the IRP on Regional Planning and Development declared as a policy that the socioeconomic development of the various regions within the country shall be promoted by undertaking regional planning and development within the context of aggregate planning at the national level and specific planning and programming at the local level.

In pursuant of this policy, the IRP divided the country into eleven regions (now 17) where a Regional Development Council (RDC) was to be created in each of them. The main tasks of the RDC was to conduct a comprehensive and detailed survey of the resources and potentialities of the region and prepare long-range and annual plans for the socioeconomic development of the region within the guidelines set by NEDA. The Neda Regional Office serves as the RDC’s secretariat and technical staff.

The integration of the interrelated process of development is carried out from the national down to the local levels with the formation of development bodies at the national level through the NEDA, at the regional level through the RDC, and at the local level through the Local Development Councils created later under the Local Government Code of 1991. By providing the institutional framework for the conduct of regional planning and development, the regional councils serve as the main instrument for promoting socioeconomic development in the various regions in the country.

As an objective, most of the regions intended to close the gap in their development with respect to the national capital region. Using data in 1975 we find that Metro Manila with less than one percent of the total land area and only 12 percent of the total population of the country accounted for 31.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. At far second was Region IV with 14.0 percent. Third was Central Luzon with 8.3 percent. Forty years later in 2015, NCR’s share went up to 37.5 percent, followed again by Region IV with 18.7 percent and Central Luzon with 9.3 percent.

Overall, Luzon had 64.2 percent share of the GDP in 1975. The Visayas and Mindanao had 18.9 percent and 16.9 percent of the GDP in 1975, respectively. Forty years later in 2015, Luzon’s share went up to 73.2 percent in 2015. While that of the Visayas went down to 12.4 percent and Mindanao, 14.4 percent.

In 1975, Western Visayas was the fourth biggest after Central Luzon in GDP share with 9.3 percent. This went down drastically to 4.0 percent in 2015. Central Visayas was next to Western Visayas in GDP size in 1975 with 6.8 percent. This also went down to only 6.4 percent in 2015, though now the fourth biggest already after Central Luzon

What we conclude from the above figures is that since martial law up to now is that the country’s development continued to remain in favor of the NCR and it’s two adjoining regions in Luzon at the expense of the rest of the country. What was wrong?

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