CONTEST FOR RDC CHAIRMANSHIP. Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla (right) and Tacloban City Alfred Romualdez were both nominated as the next chairperson of the Regional Development Council. President Rodrigo Duterte will have the final say who will become the next chairperson. Photo shows both Romualdez and Petilla in a light mood with Regional Director Meylene Rosales of the National Economic Development Authority during the RDC meeting on Thursday (Sept.26). (ROEL T. AMAZONA)

Pres. Duterte will have the final say

GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte – Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez were endorsed by the members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) for Malacañang to appoint as the next chairperson of the said regional body.
The more than 50-member council, composed of representatives from different government agencies and private organizations, nominated both Romualdez and Petilla during their regular meeting Thursday (Sept.26) held at the regional office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), which serves as the secretariat of the highest policy-making body of the region.
Also nominated were representatives from private sectors, namely, Roy Bernard Fiel, Luisita Quebec, and Miguel Tezon, for the vice-chairman of the council.
All the names of the nominees are to be forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte who will have the final say who will become the next chairman and co-chairman of the RDC.
While Gov. Petilla once served as the RDC chairman in 2013 until 2016, Mayor Romualdez, who served as mayor of Tacloban City for nine years, has never been appointed to the post.
His wife, Cristina, however, served as the chairperson of the body from 2016 until June 30 of this year. His father, Alfredo ‘Bejo’ Romualdez, also served as RDC chairman from 1998 to 2001.
Gov. Petilla’s mother, Remedios, was also named as RDC chair from 2001 to 2004 while his brother, former governor and energy secretary Carlos Jericho, held the same post from 2011 to 2012.
Romualdez, in his message, admitted that during his nine years as city mayor, he seldom attended the RDC meeting and chose to send a representative on his behalf.
“After reading the mandate of the RDC, I felt compelled and decided to accept the nomination because I feel Tacloban City, being the capital of the region, all the municipalities and cities in the region are constituents. Whatever happens to Tacloban affects all municipalities, cities and provinces,” he said.
Earlier, Mayor Romualdez said that he is not that keen to succeed his wife as RDC chair though he was willing to serve if his services are needed.
“Rest assured, whether I will be part of the RDC as chairman or not, I will always be here 99 percent. Just coordinate with me, there is no conflict with any LGU as far as Tacloban is concerned,” the Tacloban city mayor said.
“I just want this region to overcome our target,” Romualdez added.
Gov.Petilla said that the position of chairmanship will always depend to the decision of the President.
Petilla disclosed that when he was serving on his first term, he was nominated for the post but declined.
He, however, was eventually named by then President Benigno Aquino III.
Petilla, in his message, said if he would be named as the next RDC chairman, he would push for the improvement of the region’s economy, which is one of the poorest regions in the country.
“I serve to the pleasure of the President. As RDC chair our main goal is for the common good of the people,” Petilla said.