Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the assigned Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Mimaropa (Region 4-B), led the yearend assessment and planning meeting of the region on January 8.
During the meeting, Cusi emphasized the region’s achievements in providing regional security to help local businesses recover from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and from the damage brought by the communist insurgency.
He cited the Sanayang Pailaw sa Daan, one of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) energy-related projects in the area, which provides beneficiaries with skills in solar light assembly and installation that they can use in their homes and in the streets within their communities.
Beneficiaries of the project included rebel returnees and indigenous peoples (IPs), who gained a livelihood from installing and maintaining solar street lights to help them return to mainstream life.
The project supports President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s directive to implement projects for inclusive growth toward poverty alleviation, sustainability, and security.
“Street lights may seem trivial for some people, but in local communities, a lighted street means a secure environment for residents where people are able to move around more confidently, people can grow their livelihood in peace, and operate their business without fear. Homeowners can also sleep better,” Cusi said. “This environment helps local governments to implement health protocols better, as well as aids citizens and small businesses to be able to get back to the new normal under this pandemic.”
In Mimaropa alone, the project has provided nine training activities for 205 IP beneficiaries.
The project has benefit benefited some 1,482 rebel returnees, and 35,864 IPs nationwide. Training assistance has also been extended to more than 900 soldiers wounded in action, and families of soldiers killed in action.
In the same meeting, Cusi also commended the initiatives of the National Task Force and Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF-ELCAC) to make things happen with urgency and commitment.
Present during the meeting were Governor Presbetero Velasquez Jr. of Marinduque, Governor Jose Riano (Romblon), Governor Jose Alvarez (Palawan), Governor Humerlito Dolor (Oriental Mindoro) and Governor Eduardo Gadiano (Occidental Mindoro), South Luzon Command (Solcom) commander Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Western Command (Wescom) commander VAdm. Ramil Roberto Enriquez, Philippine National Police Region 4-B-Brig. Gen. Pascual Muñoz, 2nd Infantry Division Maj. Gen. Greg Almerol, 203rd Brigade Col. Jose Augusto Villareal, PNP Special Action Force, regional directors and officers of the national government agencies, 12 clusters and cluster leads and TESDA regional director Manuel Wong.
Mimaropa is made up of the provinces of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.
The Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) was established under the Duterte administration to ensure that national government initiatives are cascaded more efficiently and effectively to the grassroots level.