Half a century ago, MIMAROPA was one of the poorest regions in the country. Today, it has become an economic dynamo owing to its booming resources such as fishing, agriculture, mining industries, massive natural gas deposits, and ever-growing popularity as a prime tourist destination featuring majestic ecological frontiers, beautiful islands, exotic diving spots, colorful festivities, and very rich culture.
MIMAROPA, which stands for the provinces of Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan, was officially created by Executive Order (EO) No. 103 dated May 17, 2002. Under the said EO, Region IV (Southern Tagalog) was divided into two regions, Region IV-B (MIMAROPA) and Region IV-A (CALABARZON), and the province of Aurora, which was originally attached to Region IV, was transferred to Region III – Central Luzon. With the creation of Region IV-B, it became one of just two regions in the country with no land border with another region, the other being Region VIII – Eastern Visayas.
Three years after the official creation of Region IV-B, EO No. 429 dated May 23, 2005 included the province of Palawan in Region VI (Western Visayas), hence making Region IV-B as MIMARO. However, this move was protested by Palaweños for lack of consultation, among other reasons. To address the matter, Administrative Order No. 129 dated August 19, 2005 was issued, halting the implementation of EO No. 429, pending the approval of an implementation plan. However, the implementation plan for the said EO never came to fruition and so Palawan remains as part of Region IV-B.
On July 17, 2016 or more than 11 years after Palawan was almost included in Region VI, Republic Act (RA) No. 10879 or the MIMAROPA Act formally established the Southwestern Tagalog Region to be known as MIMAROPA Region. The law directed the transfer of all regional government offices to Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, the designated regional center.
While the MIMAROPA Act did not include any boundary changes, it no longer mentioned the name “Region IV-B.” This was approved by some MIMAROPA leaders who believed that the name “Region IV-B” had a negative connotation, purportedly being second only to Region IV-A. However, there was no provision in the law directing government offices to discontinue the use of the name “Region IV-B” and so the Commission on Audit (COA) continues to use the same to refer to its regional unit – COA Region IV-B MIMAROPA.
In December 2016, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA No. 10879 was issued but the same was met with apprehension from affected stakeholders mainly due to lack of consultation, expensive transportation costs from the other provinces of MIMAROPA to the purported regional center in Calapan City, and displacement of Metro Manila-based MIMAROPA government offices personnel. The said IRR has been proposed to be reviewed by the Office of the President and action on the matter has yet to be known.
COA, despite the issuance of EO No. 103 in 2002 which divided the then Region IV into Region IV-B and Region IV-A, continued to treat Region IV as one regional unit for more than 10 years. In 2012, Commission Proper issued COA Resolution No. 2012-016 dated December 7, 2012 which finally divided COA Regional Office (RO) No. IV into COA RO No. IV-B MIMAROPA and COA RO No. IV-A CALABARZON.
COA RO No. IV-B started functioning as a regional unit on January 11, 2013 and just a year after, one of its audit teams was hailed as COA Regional Awardee for Outstanding Audit Team. From 2013 up to present, COA RO No. IV-B already had seven Regional Directors and seven Assistant Regional Directors.
Pending the review of the IRR of the MIMAROPA Act, COA Region IV-B MIMAROPA remains unfazed and will continue to exercise with fervor its mandate to prevent and disallow irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, ensuring transparency and accountability for public resources, and the unbridled delivery of public service to the people of MIMAROPA. As it is, MIMAROPA Region will always be a tourist haven and the heart of the country with rich and abundant natural resources.
To help the region achieve its socio-economic goals and environmental sustainability, COA Region IV-B MIMAROPA, as enabler of development under the leadership of Regional Director Lynflor M. Adolfo and Assistant Regional Director Felicidad S. Medrano, together with its workforce of 213 Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), 9 CPA-lawyers, 4 lawyers, 13 engineers, 4 special investigators, and 46 audit/administrative staff, vow to safeguard government funds and properties in MIMAROPA Region, and protect its natural resources for future generations of Filipinos to enjoy. #