TACLOBAN CITY-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has named Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla who right away declared that he would give focus in addressing the poverty problem of the region. Petilla, whose family is a close political ally of Mr. Aquino, said that his appointment as RDC chair came at a time when Eastern Visayas is facing the challenge due to supertyphoon Yolanda.

“We need to stir the RDC to attack the specific problem in the region, basically its Yolanda as practically all provinces were hit, if not by Yolanda by Basyang in Southern Leyte and Glenda in Northern Samar ” Petilla said, referring to the typhoons that hit the mentioned provinces. Petilla, who is just serving his first term as governor, will convene and preside the RDC meeting next month. The Leyte governor said that he was surprised when he received a fax copy of his appointment as RDC chair, the highest policy-making body for the region.
Before Petilla’s appointment, NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) Regional Director Bonifacio Uy served as acting chair of the body. Petilla said that among his focused priority is how to address the lingering problem of poverty in the region saying that Eastern Visayas is among the country’s most depressed regions. The governor became the third from his family to sit as RDC chair, following his brother, former governor and now Energy Secretary Jericho Carlos Petilla and mother, Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla.

Jericho served as RDC chair from 2010 to 2021 until he was named to his current Cabinet post while Remedios, who was also a former governor, was RDC chair in 2001 to 2004. Gov. Petilla maintained that his appointment was not based on his being an ally of the administration but because of his capacity. “No, I don’t think so. May be he believes on my capacity and that I can do something for the region and for Leyte,” Petilla said. Meanwhile, his appointment as RDC chair was welcome by Vice Gov. Carlo Loreto, a cousin, saying that he has the qualities of being a good chair of the regional body. “It is high time, as we move on to ASEAN 2015 it is important to make ready our infrastructure, human resource for the challenges of the future. His being a meticulous in details, his being a planner and organizer and his dedication to his work will make Petilla an effective RDC leader, I think this qualities are what we need at the helm of the regional chairmanship of RDC to be progressive and be prepared for any challenges,” Loreto said.(LIZBETH ANN ABELLA)