Here's a news report by Ahlette Reyes of the Leyte Samar Daily Express:
TACLOBAN CITY - As he formally took his oath of office as the new chairman of the Regional Development Council in Eastern Visayas, three-term Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento exhorted political leaders and elected officials to actively participate in the council's activities and fortify their commitment to the council's development plans.
The new RDC chair took his oath before Executive Judge Rogelio C. Sescon of the Regional trial Court here during the Regional Development Council's meeting at the Hotel Alejandro Monday.
Mayor Sarmiento emphasized the need for a close working relationship with the existing chairmen of the different committees of the RDC as well as with local chief executives and political leaders.
"One of the things cited during our earlier meeting was the lack of commitment of some of our elected officials. Without them we cannot do the things that we need to do. Our politicians, through their political backing can sum and balance things up," Mayor Sarmiento said in his message shortly after his formal oath taking.
He added that "political will" have to be used sometimes to "get what we want." "We need political leaders to actively support the plan that has been given by the private sector, government agencies and local government units," Sarmiento said.
Among other things, the new RDC chair said he would focus on during his reign is for the council to actively participate in the legislation process and utilize their collective influence in lobbying for legislation that would really redound to the benefit of the region during its implementation.
"We now have elected officials who were formerly members of the Lower House and now they are having problems implementing some laws they themselves have approved before," he said.
Existing committees of the RDC had been retained with their respective chairpersons authorized by the newly appointed chairman to act on their own unless it would need "political intervention" from the higher officials of the board.
"I have also authorized the committee chairs to act on their own. If it needs political intervention that's the time that we come in the higher level," Mayor Sarmiento said.
Likewise he disclosed of a "score card" for the different committees formed under the council, which would show what the development body are supposed to achieve until 2010. This "score card," he said, was developed by the Harvard School for Business and has been modified for public use. The same has already been applied in the city of Calbayog under his leadership.
With a notable track record under him particularly his expertise on development strategies, other members and sectoral representatives of the RDC expressed confidence the body would be able to achieve their development goals during his three-year reign.
Mayor Sarmiento, who is known as an innovative and development-oriented local government executive, was the lone nominee of the RDC to the chairmanship post. His nomination was endorsed to and confirmed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The confirmation letter was received by the RDCEV Secretariat on November 9, 2007.