SAY GOODBYE TO REGIONAL CENTER PAGADIAN:Malacañang halts Region-9′s regional transfer


Malacañang has issued a one-month moratorium on the transfer of the regional offices of all departments and agencies from this city to Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur.
House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and second district Rep. Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the moratorium which was issued through Memorandum Circular No. 11 and signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa by the authority of President Benigno Simeon Aquino, III took effect December 22, 2010.
“Section 1 of Memorandum Circular No. 11 directs all departments, bureaus and other government agencies are enjoined to suspend the transfer of their regional offices in Region 9 from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City pending the study on the matter and consultations with relevant stakeholders to be jointly conducted by the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Civil Service Commission (CSC), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM),” Salazar said.
Salazar noted that the legal basis for the regional transfer was Executive Order 429 issued on October 12, 1990 by President Corazon Aquino, which provided for the reorganization of the administrative regions in Mindanao.
E.O. 429 declared Pagadian City as the regional center of Region 9 with the inclusion of Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental in the region.
However, President Fidel Ramos issued E.O. 325, which reorganized the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) declared Zamboanga City as the regional center in Region 9.
In 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed E.O. 36, which returned the two provinces and four cities back to Region 10 earlier reorganized to Region 9 but was silent on the issue of Regional Government Centers.
In 2004, Memorandum Circular No. 75 signed by former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was released and directed the transfer of the regional center from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City citing Section 1 of E.O. 429 as its legal basis.
The Pagadian Regional Center Management and Coordinating Office (PRCMCO) reported that out of the 121 regional offices of national government agencies, only 32 have fully transferred to Pagadian City, 12 agencies have partially transferred while six have only established satellite offices.
Salazar said the moratorium under Memorandum Circular No. 11 directs the suspension of the regional transfer and maintains status quo “meaning the regional offices that are already in Pagadian City shall continue to operate thereat.”
Salazar said the PMS, DILG, CSC, NEDA, and the DBM were tasked to conduct a study and directed to submit a comprehensive report and recommendations to President Aquino within 30 working days after the issuance of the Memorandum Circular which took effect last December 22.
Salazar welcomes the creation of the body that will study and will provide a comprehensive report presenting findings and recommendations to President Aquino on the issue of the regional transfer.
“There is a need to evaluate the transfer and ask whether the government resources that we have invested are worth every penny and if indeed government services are more accessible and efficiently delivered,” she said.
“We trust the wisdom of President Aquino in addressing the plight of more than 4,000 families of government employees who are affected by the transfer,” she added.
Salazar laid emphasis that there is a necessity to put more weight on the need to improve the quality, delivery and accessibility of government services which were underlying principle of E.O. 429.
“The long-standing issues of the tremendous increase in financial cost, social displacement, low morale of employees, difficulty of transportation, insufficient facilities, poor living conditions and higher operating expenses brought about by the transfer have burdened our government offices and employees so much. With Memorandum Circular No. 11 in place, all are expected to work harder to support for the retention of the regional offices in this city,” she said.


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