With Leyte Gov. Petilla and Samar Gov. Tan Mayors

GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte- Actors-turned politicians Richard Gomez and Cristina Gonzales Romualdez are among the contenders for the chairmanship of the Regional Development Council (RDC) for Eastern Visayas.
Aside from the two first-termer mayors, also contesting the RDC chairmanship are Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan and Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, the current chair of the regional policy-making body.
The four were nominated during their first regular meeting for the year on Wednesday (August 31) held at the regional office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), this town.
While the RDC, composed of major government line agencies, various private sectors, city mayors, governors and head of the mayors leagues of the provinces, nominates who could be its chair for the next three years, President Rodrigo Duterte still appoints the chairman of the regional planning body.
Of the four nominees, only Gomez and Romualdez, who partnered in several movies during the early 1990s, are considered as political allies of Mr. Duterte in the region.
Petilla and Tan, during the presidential elections last May 9, supported defeated presidential candidate Mar Roxas.
However, this early, Tan is not optimistic that she would get the chair.
“I was actually surprised on my nomination. I’m just here to push programs for my province,” the third-termer governor said.
Gomez, for his part, said that while he was honored to be nominated as RDC chair, he would leave it to the President to decide.
“It will only happen upon the signature of the President. Nakakahiya naman if I will lobby. But if he find me to be the appropriate to chair the RDC, then will and good,” the Ormoc City mayor said.
The RDC secretariat is expected to submit the list of nominees to Malacañang next week with the announcement expected within the month.
All four nominees said that if elected, they would give focus on lobbying government agencies to improve the economic conditions of the region still reeling from the aftermath of Super typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013.
For one, Mayor Romualdez said she is pushing for water connections for families that were transferred at the northern part of the city who lost their houses due to Yolanda.