Guimaras governor forecasts region’s growth with bridge project

Governor JC Rahman A. Nava outlined his vision for Guimaras’ role in regional development during the Western Visayas Regional Development Council’s first-quarter meeting at Andana Resort, Poblacion, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras on March 19.

He emphasized the strategic significance Guimaras is poised to assume upon the completion of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project, connecting it with the region’s larger provinces. Nava anticipates that Guimaras will become a critical logistical hub within Western Visayas.

“With the completion of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge, Guimaras is expected to play a pivotal role in the regional development. We foresee becoming a strategic logistical center, bridging the major islands of the region,” stated Governor Nava.

Expressing his gratitude for the Regional Development Council’s support, Nava also mentioned Guimaras’ willingness to host the council’s first-quarter meeting as a testament to their collaborative efforts.

As the Manggahan Festival 2024 approaches, the Governor seized the chance to extend an invitation to the council members to experience the province’s cultural offerings, marking the festival’s dates from May 3-22.

The RDC meeting saw the attendance of 119 individuals, including key officers and members of the Executive Committee.

Despite initial concerns over the availability of a suitable venue, Nava emphasized the importance of supporting the RDC’s mandate to foster regional growth.

“The challenge of hosting this RDC meeting initially met with some reservations due to our Provincial Capitol being under construction. However, it solidified our determination to move forward with the Guimaras Convention Center, which is set to start construction this year. The center will have a large function room, able to accommodate up to 400 guests in a banquet setting, affirming our commitment to the RDC’s mission,” Governor Nava explained.

Atty. Jobert Peñaflorida, PCCI-Western Visayas governor and RDC VI co-chairperson, presided over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, the RDC chairperson.

The council successfully passed 37 resolutions spanning various committees, with the projected budget for the regional line agencies and state universities for 2025 set at Php308 billion.

The infrastructure sector received the largest portion of the budget, followed by social development, state universities, economic development, and development administration.

This proposed budget will be endorsed to the Department of Budget and Management by the Council.

Additionally, the RDC meeting included the presentation of awards to the regional winners of the Search for Outstanding Volunteers 2023 by the National Economic Development Authority Region 6.