New officers of Arena 7 take oath

·4 min read

THE new set of officers for calendar year 2022-2023 of the Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies in Central Visayas (Arena 7) was sworn in on May 20, 2022 by businessman Kenneth Cobonpue, the chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7.

Cobonpue told the newly elected officials and members present that they play a vital role in the development of the region as heads of their respective agencies.

“I asked you to personally and actively be involved in the next RDC 7 in meetings and discussions, in planning and budgeting to project implementation, in monitoring and evaluation,” said Cobonpue, who expressed his gratitude for their support to the RDC 7 under his chairmanship for six years.

Cobonpue said it has been really difficult to overcome the challenges that eroded the gains of the region in the past several years. These challenges are the Covid-19 pandemic, the devastation brought about by Typhoon Odette (Rai), and the Ukraine crisis.

“But let us be together in charting the development of our region and with Arena and RDC, there is no reason we will not succeed in making our economy recover faster and be more inclusive,” he said.

Challenge accepted

Quick to accept the challenge, Arena president Dr. Salustiano Jimenez of the Department of Education-Central Visayas in his message said: “I am a public servant and I chose to be one because I believe leadership is action and not a position. We join this association because we share the same direction, the same goal of which is to serve the public.”

Salustiano added that he wants the Arena 7 to be the best organization of service and this can be done through unity, despite its members having different tasks and mandates, because its members are passionate towards public service.

The other elected new Arena 7 officers are Director Jesus Zamora of the Department of Science and Technology as vice president for external affairs, Director Gamaliel Vicente of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as vice president for internal affairs, Director Chloe Osano of the Presidential Commission for Urban Poor as treasurer, Assistant Regional Director Dolores Molintas of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda 7) as secretary, Director Paquito Melicor of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as auditor, and Regional Head Fayette Riñen of the Philippine Information Agency.


Outgoing president Director Efren Carreon of Neda 7 cited the accomplishments in the past four years, especially the Bayanihan projects at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic such as the donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) to over 100 medical frontliners in the different facilities in Metro Cebu worth P100,000 and the “Usa Ka Gasa, Duha ka Pamilya” project that benefitted Cebu farmers and poor families in urban neighborhoods.

The donation of the PPE to medical frontliners battling the high incidence of Covid-19 cases in Metro Cebu during the hard lockdown came from the personal pockets of Arena 7 members.

Carreon further said the “Usa Ka Gasa, Duha Ka Pamilya” project was in partnership with a nongovernment organization called Impact, where the P35,000 donation was used to buy vegetable products from farmers. The vegetables were then distributed to the poor families in urban areas who had difficulty in accessing food items during the hard lockdowns.

Other projects fulfilled by Arena 7 included the distribution of educational supplies as Christmas gifts to 100 street children and the same on top of food items to orphans and neglected children though a foundation; conduct of financial literacy to government retirees and Gender and Development session; and the facilitation of the national ID card for government employees at the government center in Sudlon, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City in partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority 7.

“Despite the pandemic, we continue to serve. I have witnessed the positive and significant impacts of our projects while leading the Arena 7 towards greater passion, commitment, integrity and service was a challenge,” said Carreon, who admitted that attendance by members in meetings proved to be quite a challenge.

But as the induction ceremony was attended by over 50 regional and assistant regional executives, including the presidents and vice presidents of state universities and colleges, Carreon expressed confidence that the new set of officers can accomplish what it envisions the association to become.

The activity became a get-together of the old and new members to make the association become stronger and united.

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