|Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara|
Some 32 of the 47 RDC voting members composed of Bicol governors, city and capital town mayors and regional directors of various national government agencies acceded to Bichara’s nomination by Masbate Gov. Antonio.
During the nomination, Kho requested the council to do away with the procedure of submitting to the President two nominees as council chairperson.
Under the rules, the council has to submit to the President two nominees for council chairperson and another two nominees for vice chairman from the private sector for RDC vice chairman.
Following these rules, the President would then select and appoint from among the nominees his choice for RDC chairman and vice chairman.
The council nominated two private sector representatives for vice chairman. They were John Abejuro, 51, who represented the business and fishery sector and Jose Medina Jr., 50, for the tourism sector.
Bichara would be RDC chair for a term of three years from 2016 to 2019.
Kho said Bichara was most qualified to head the Bicol RDC after he was elected chairman of the country’s governors’ league.
The Masbate governor said the consensus attained in nominating Bichara would demonstrate to the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte the Bicol leaders’ show of unity.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal welcomed Kho’s proposal to endorse the sole nomination of Bichara to the President.
“Why not give it a chance to nominate only one – in case the President would question this process, we could easily reconvene.”
Camarines Norte Gov. Edgar Tallado was second to give his motion nominating Bichara before it received unanimous approval from all the council members.
Bichara thanked the council members “for their support and the confidence” they gave him.
Showing his interest in leading the RDC council, Bichara immediately passed two urgent resolutions.
The first resolution urged the Department of Transportation and Communication to “review and revise” the technical flaws seen in the Bicol International Airport project plan.
Bichara said the plan “does not conform with international standards.”
The second resolution of Albay’s provincial chief executive seeks to transform the idle airports in Sorsogon and Daet into “community airports” that would cater to small aircrafts during tourism events and emergency operations.
The governors of the provinces of Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Masbate and Albay and the city mayors of Legazpi and Iriga were present, along the with the regional directors of national agencies, during the RDC meeting.
NEDA in Bicol serves as the principal technical staff and administrative secretariat of the RDC, which is tasked, along with its committees, to support socio-economic planning and development in the region.(PNA)